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Manual for

Rooftop Rainwater
in the Republic of Yemen

November 2017

Prepared by:

Dr. Sharafaddin Abdullah Saleh - Water and Environment Center - Sana’a University
Prof. Dr. Taha Taher - Faculaty of Eng. Sana’a University
Prof. Dr. Abdulla Noaman - Faculaty of Eng. Sana’a University

Reviewed by:

Dr. Frank van Steenbergen - MetaMeta, The Netherlands

Abraham Abhishek - MetaMeta, The Netherlands

Table of Content
1 Background 6
1.1 Introduction 6
1.1.1 Facts and figures  7
1.2 Why harvest water? 7
1.3 Rainwater Harvesting in Yemen 7
1.4 Objectives of the study 11
1.5 Rationale  11
1.6 Scope of work 12
2 Rainwater Harvesting System Components 13
2.1 Catchments surfaces 13
2.1.1 Roof catchments 13
2.1.2 Rock and ground catchments 13
2.2 Delivery System components 14
2.2.1 Gutters and Downspouts  14
2.2.2 Gutter Sizing and Installation  14
2.2.3 Leaf screens 15
2.2.4 First flush system 15
2.2.5 Filtration systems and settling tanks  18
2.2.6 Storage tank siting  18
2.2.7 Storage tanks 19
2.2.8 Overflow pipe 19
2.2.9 Water outlet use system  20
3 Quality of rainwater harvesting 21
3.1 Introduction 21
3.2 Types of contaminants in rainwater tanks 21
3.3 Suitable rain collection surfaces 21
3.3.1 Roofs  21
3.3.2 Drainpipes (Gutters) 21
3.3.3 Appropriate storage tanks 22
3.3.4 Tank maintenance 22
3.4 Devices & Techniques for Better Water Quality  22
3.4.1 Filtration Screens 22
3.4.2 First-flush 23
3.4.3 Water Disinfection by adding Chlorine 24
3.5 Water quality testing 25
3.5.1 Water Quality tests 25
4 Groundwater Recharge 29
4.1 Groundwater recharge pit  29
4.1.1 Groundwater recharging pit through tube wells 29

4.2 Groundwater recharge trench  30
4.2.1 Groundwater recharging trench through tube wells  31
4.3 Groundwater recharge through abandoned dug wells 34
4.4 Deep well recharging 34
4.5 Groundwater recharging shaft 35
5 Hydrological Data Analysis 37
5.1 Introduction 37
5.2 Rainfall measurements and analysis 37
5.3 Computation of Average Rainfall over a Basin 38
5.3.1 Arithmetic average method 38
5.3.2 Thiessen Polygon Method 38
5.3.3 Isohyetal method 40
5.3.4 Comparison of the three methods: 42
5.3.5 Rainfall data  43
5.4 Rainfall Intensity, Duration, and Frequency 43
5.5 Runoff calculation 44
6 Design Considerations 46
6.1 Introduction 46
6.2 Sizing a domestic RWH system 46
6.2.1 Local Rainfall Data 46
6.3 Estimating harvested volumes and tank sizes 48
6.3.1 Demand Side Approach (DSA) 50
6.3.2 Supply Side Approach (SSA) 50
6.3.3 Computer Models (CM) 55
6.4 Design Applications on Taiz and Ibb cities 56
6.5 Pipe Design 56
6.5.1 Flow pipes 56
6.5.2 First Flush pipe  57
6.6 Trench Design  57
6.7 Planning and Management 58
6.8 Identification of locations for rainwater harvesting 59
7 Cost estimates and benefits of rainwater harvesting 60
7.1 Introduction 60
7.2 Storage Tanks 60
7.3 Collection Network Pipes 60
7.4 Pump cost 61
7.5 Artificial Groundwater Recharge : Benefits & Cost  61
7.5.1 Benefits of groundwater recharge 61
7.5.2 Cost of groundwater recharge systems 62
7.5.3 Artificial groundwater recharge in Yemen 62
7.5.4 Estimated benefits of harvested water in three Yemeni cities 63

7.5.5 Potential effects and impacts  65
8 Indigenous knowledge of rainwater harvesting techniques for rural domestic
water supply in Yemen  68
8.1 Introduction 68
8.2 Cisterns and ponds` 68
8.2.1 Typology of the c 68
8.2.2 Traditional cement and plastering for cisterns (Qadad) 72
Annexes & Appendix 74

List of Tables

Table 3.1 Types of contaminants commonly found in rainwater collection system 23

Table 3.2 Volume of water in the tank and amount of added bleach 24
Table 3.3 WHO water quality guidelines 27
Table 5.1: Computation of average precipitation using Arithmetic mean method) 38
Table 5.2: Average rainfall computed by the Theissen polygon method 42
Table 5.3: Rainfall computation by Isohyetal Method 42
Table 5.4 Runoff coefficients 45
Table 6.1 Rainfall data of Sana’a City (1990-2003) for 10 years 47
Table 6.2 Sana’a rainfall for the range from 1999 to 2009 (NASA) 48
Table 6.3 infiltration rates of soils 58
Table 7.1 Storage tanks types and cost estimation in Yemen 60
Table 7.2 Pipes types and costs estimation in Yemen 61
Table 7.3 approximate estimated cost for recharge pit in Yemen 62
Table 7.4 approximate estimated cost for recharge trench in Yemen 62
Table 7.5 approximate estimated cost for recharge Shaft in Yemen 63
Table 7.6 water harvesting and consumption estimation for Sana’a city 65
Table 7.7 water harvesting and consumption estimation for Taiz city 66
Table 7.8 Water harvesting and consumption estimation for Taiz 67

List of Figures

Figure (1.1) Underground tanks (Cartesian) for rainwater harvesting 9

Figure (2.1) Water harvesting systems and their uses 13
Figure (2.2) Roof catchment system 13
Figure (2.3) Ground catchment system 14
Figure (2.4) Basic rooftop water harvesting system including first flush pipe 16
Figure (2.5) Brazilian first flush system 17
Figure (2.6) Manual Method: Simple downpipe manually moved away for first flush 18
Figure (2.7) Semi-automatic Method: Simple down pipe first flush device 18
Figure (4.1) Rainwater harvesting recharge pit 29

Figure (4.2) A connecting pipe with recharge well at the bottom of the pit to recharge
filtered water through well 30
Figure (4.3) Rainwater harvesting recharge trench 30
Figure (4.4) Chamber with tube well 31
Figure (4.5) Rooftop rainwater harvesting through trench with recharge well 32
Figure (4.6) Rooftop rainwater harvesting through trench with recharge wells 33
Figure (4.7) Abandoned Dug Well 34
Figure (4.8) Roof rainwater process for harvesting recharge through a dug well 34
Figure (4.9) Rainwater harvesting from roof through shaft without injection well 36
Figure (4.10) Rainwater harvesting from roof through shaft without injection well 36
Figure (4.11) Rainwater harvesting lateral shaft with injection well 36
Figure (5.1) General roof catchments and harvesting water uses 37
Figure (5.2): Basin and location of stations 39
Figure (5.3): Draw triangles 39
Figure (5.4): Draw perpendicular bi-sectors of the triangles 40
Figure (5.5): Draw polygons 40
Figure (5.6): Basin area and rainfall stations 41
Figure (5.7): Draw the isohyet lines 41
Figure (5.8): Isohyet map 42
Figure (5.9) Rainfall IDF Curves, Sana’a 44
Figure (6.1) Isohyets map showing the mean annual rainfall across Sana’a Basin (mm) 49
Figure (6.2) – Rainfall collected on the school roof in 2001 53
Figure (6.3): Comparison of the harvestable water and the demand for each month 54
Figure (6.4): Predicted cumulative inflow and outflow from the tank 54
Figure (7.1) Recharge pit dimensions 64

On the Use of the Manual

The Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Manual and its companion volumes are designed
to serve as general references and guides. Readers are encouraged to consider the
information, recommendations, and guidelines in relation to their specific requirements. We
invite you to adapt and apply them to your local context. We also encourage you to consult
qualified water sector professionals in the private sector, government, and/or regulatory
and development agencies to draw on their experience in the construction, management,
operation, maintenance, and servicing of water supply systems and utilities. Professional
consultants are well positioned to advise on financial, legal, and other aspects of small water
supply businesses.

1 Background Sarayi in Istanbul, Turkey, constructed
1.1 Introduction during the rule of Caesar Justinian (AD 527-
565). The tank measures 140m x 70m with a
Rainwater harvesting and utilization capacity of 80,000 m3.
systems have been in place for centuries.
Rainwater harvesting refers to the practice Rainwater harvesting has been practiced for
of collecting rainwater from rooftops, land so long owing to the temporal and special
surfaces, or rock catchments and storing variability of rainfall, and these ancient
it for human use. Water collection vessels practices are enjoying a contemporary
are typically located within accessible revival. Rainwater is typically superior to
distances of their place of use. sources of groundwater that may have been
subjected to contamination. As such, like
Archaeological evidence of rainwater other water resources, rainwater harvesting
capture in China suggests that such systems is an option to consider in the planning
were in place as many as 6,000 years ago. of community-oriented water supply
Evidence of roof catchment systems and systems. Depending on local environmental
other technologies demonstrate that conditions, water harvesting can provide a
in ancient Rome, villas and whole cities supplementary or alternative water supply,
were designed to take advantage of or it may be the only supply as is often the
rainwater as the principal water source case in urban areas. For example, many
for drinking and domestic purposes. In cities in India have made rooftop rainwater
2000 BC, tanks to store hillside runoff harvesting compulsory for municipal
for domestic and agricultural purposes buildings, including New Delhi, Mumbai,
allowed habitation and cultivation in the Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Indoor.
Negev desert in Philistine, an area receiving Rainwater harvesting and conservation
as little as 100mm of rain annually. The in cisterns is a traditional practice in
earliest evidence of rainwater harvesting Yemen. The Tawaila Tanks, cisterns for
technology in Africa comes from northern flood harvesting, are among Aden’s most
Egypt, where tanks between 200 and popular historic sites. Journalist Huda al
2,000 m3 have been used for at least 2,000 Kibsi reports that the town of Beit Bawss,
years—many remain operational today. Hababa surrounds a large cistern basin,
In Southeast Asia, rainwater collection which collects water from the terraces of
practices trace back to Thailand, where local buildings. In the context of Yemen,
for 2,000 years small-scale collection from developing cisterns for domestic and
eaves troughs and simple gutters into jars agricultural use will have tremendous
and pots has been commonplace. In South impact on rural livelihoods and will help
Asia, such practices date back to the 9th or to solve urban and rural water scarcity.
10th Century, where evidence of rooftop Similarly, the northern and southern parts
rainwater collection and simple brush dam of the main island of Socotra use water
constructions can be found. The world’s from cisterns that are 6m x 4m x 3m and
largest rainwater tank is likely the Yerebatan some that are larger.

1.1.1 Facts and figures harvesting techniques are important
conservation tools. Water harvesting refers
• Projections for 2025 indicate that the to all activities used to collect available
number of people living in water-stressed water resources, to temporarily store
countries will increase six-fold, reaching excess water for use when required—e.g.,
billion affected people. in times of drought. Water can be collected
• Today, 470 million people live in regions from natural water sources, such as rain,
experiencing severe water shortages. fog, runoff, or wastewater. Specifically,
• Today, 1.1 billion people in the world rainwater harvesting is the technique of
lack access to safe water: roughly one-sixth collecting and storing rainwater in surface
of the world’s population. or sub-surface aquifers before it is lost as
• The average distance that women in surface runoff. This technique is important
Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6 km, in areas with significant rainfall but that lack
carrying an average of 20kg load on their a conventional, centralized supply system.
• An estimated 25% of people in Rainwater harvesting is particularly
developing country cities use water important in urban areas, where rapid
vendors, purchasing water at significantly urbanization has resulted in decreased
higher prices than is charged for piped infiltration of rainwater into the subsoil,
water. reducing groundwater recharging. In
• The population in the Kibeira slum in this context, rainwater harvesting is
Nairobi, Kenya, pays up to five times the essential to meet the demands of water for
price that an average American citizen pays domestic use, livestock, and groundwater
for one litre of water. aquifer replenishment. Harvesting from
• In semi-arid regions such as sub-Saharan rooftop catchments and groundwater
Africa and parts of Asia, each kilogram recharging should be made mandatory in
of grain produced requires 5,000 litres of urban areas. Areas experiencing extreme
rainfall. rainfalls require good flood protection and
• 60% of rainfall does not end up in rivers or diversion structures, while areas prone
aquifers, but is retained in the soil, available to extreme drought require significant
as ‘green water’ for plant-ecosystems. storage capacity, the securing of alternative
water resources, and rationing schemes
1.2 Why harvest water? developed well in advance.

Water resources are limited, and water 1.3 Rainwater Harvesting in Yemen
is becoming a scarce commodity due
to increased demand in proportion to In Yemen, ruins of dams and reservoirs
a rapidly increasing global population, and the country’s spectacular mountain
industrialization, urbanization, and terraces confirm a long history of water
global climate change. Conservation of harvesting. The historic collapse of the
water resources is necessary, and water Marib dam is mentioned in the Koran.

Archaeologists have recently excavated
the ruins of irrigation structures around
Marib City dating back some 4,000 years.
In Yemen’s mountainous regions, rainwater
harvesting was facilitated through dams,
dykes, cisterns, and spate diversion
structures (Ogmas), which were used to
supply water for domestic, livestock, and
agricultural use. Farmers in the same area
are still irrigating with floodwater, making Picture (1.1a) Tawila Tanks Crater Aden
the region perhaps one of the few places
on earth where runoff agriculture has
been continuously used since the earliest

The Tawila Tanks, also known as the Aden

Tanks, the Cisterns, the Queen of Sheba
Tanks, and Solomon’s Tanks, are located
in the hills at the western edge of Crater
District. These pre-historic rainwater tanks,
dating back to 1500 BC, have channels to Picture (1.1b) Tawila Tanks Crater Aden
capture runoff from nearby mountains
designed to collect scare rainwater and to Recent studies indicate that villagers in
divert runoff to protect the city in the crater the mountainous areas have been using
from heavy rains and floods. Excavated water harvesting techniques for hundreds
out of solid rock and lined with a thick of years. They use rainwater for drinking,
coat of fine stucco resembling marble, the livestock, and supplementary irrigation,
tanks are considered one of the greatest particularly in the dry seasons. Cisterns
engineering feats in South Arabia. They are built to collect runoff from catchment
were likely built during the rules of Banu areas located away from villages to
Zuraia, the Roulades, the Tahirides, and prevent pollution. Local materials, such
the Ottomons, and are mentioned in as Qadad, used to cement cisterns have
the ancient Al-Musnad inscriptions. (See proven to be durable and of high quality,
pictures (1.1a) and (1.1b)) able to withstand environmental changes
including variations in rainfall and
temperature [5]. (See picture (1.2a) & (1.2b))

Picture (1.2a) Rainwater harvesting from Picture (1.3) Natural foundation for Karef water
mountain slope harvesting

Picture (1.2b) Rainwater harvesting from Picture (1.4) Natural Karef after being filled with
mountain slope water

In recent years, Yemen has started to 2. Cartesian: underground tanks for

rehabilitate old rainwater harvesting rainwater harvesting (See Figure (1.1)).
structures and to develop new structures
for domestic use. In addition, new dams ‫ﻏﻁﺎء‬
and diversion structures have been
built for domestic and agricultural use.
Several traditional methods of rainwater ‫ﻁﺑﻘﻪ‬
harvesting continue to be employed in
Yemen, including:

1. Al- kervan: natural or manufactured

depuration in clay loam soil for rainwater ‫ﻏﺿﺎﺭﻳﺔ‬
harvesting (See Pictures (1.3) & (1.4))
Figure (1.1) Underground tanks (Cartesian) for
rainwater harvesting

3. Albearak Alasadiah: water pond built 6. Rock pond (Al moujil): open rainwater
with stone masonry and clay for rainwater harvesting tank dug in rock areas (See
harvesting (See Picture (1.5.)) picture (1.8)).

Picture (1.5) Albariekah Alasadieah Picture (1.8) Rock pond (Al moujil)

4. Aljeroof: a digging tank between two 7. Alseegayat: stone masonry water

boulders and built on two sides (See Picture harvesting systems built closer to houses
(1.6)) and receiving the roof water (See picture
1.9.) These systems are found in the Ibb and
Taiz rural areas.

Picture (1.6) Rainwater harvesting Aljeroof

5. Al-Kohoof: natural underground hole

used as underground rainwater tank (See Picture (1.9) Alseegaya
Picture (1.7).
8. Village Tank: water harvesting system
within or outside the village and serving the
whole community for drinking, livestock,
and household use. These systems are
very well known and are found in the rural
mountainous areas (see picture (1.10))

Picture (1.7) Kahf for underground rainwater


Picture (1.10) Village community water
harvesting system

Various government ministries, authorities,

and projects are currently responsible for
building rainwater harvesting structures.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Picture (1.11b) Ferro-cement tank at a girls’
the Ministry of Water and Environment, school, Sana’a (after completion) (SFD)
the Rural Water Authority, the General
Working Project, and the Social Fund
for Development (SFD) have built small 1.4 Objectives of the study
dams, reservoirs, and diversion dams.
SFD recently constructed an 80 m3 Ferro- • Develop design guidelines of rooftop
cement tank covered in corrugated steel at water harvesting systems in Yemen
a school in Sana’a. (See pictures (1.11a) and • Increase the use of rainwater harvesting
(1.11b)) SFD also rehabilitates old cisterns from rooftops
and reservoirs. • Reduce the stress on groundwater by providing
alternative rooftop water harvesting methods
as renewable water resource

1.5 Rationale

The manual explores rainwater issues and

the importance of preserving groundwater,
highlighting various options for rainwater
harvesting, recharge systems, and ensuring
adequate water quality of harvested water.
We introduce designs for safe and sufficient
water storage, providing cost estimates
and affordable methods that align with
Picture (1.11a) Ferro-cement tank at a girls’ traditional construction techniques.
school in Sana’a (during construction) (SFD)

1.6 Scope of work building foundations.

1. Estimate the total rainfall in the study area (C) Shafts for Recharge:
(whre rooftop or rianwater harvesting is Groundwater recharge through shafts is
needeg) based on past records; maximize recommended for steep slopes and deep
rainwater conservation using landscape areas. The consultant should design and
and rooftop water harvesting measures; produce costs estimate for the shafts.
use water for direct applications and 1. Prepare comprehensive guidelines
groundwater recharge to meet the overall for rainwater harvesting in Yemen to
water requirements of the area/utilities. encourage the collection and reuse of
2. Study the behaviour of existing rainfall rainwater.
discharge capacity, flooding, and water 2. Design proper rooftop and artificial
availability in the lean/off-season at the recharge structures for pilot projects in
site of water harvesting system and its locations like public buildings, hospitals,
surrounding environment. universities, etc.
3. Establish water resource planning/water 3. Estimate the total available recharge
cycle balance, designing appropriate water from the above measures and
piping systems to collect rooftop water; produce economic benefits in two
create a storage facility and establish selected areas
a recharge process for excess water 4. Protect rainwater in an underground
through existing bore wells in hospitals, storage tank for use at buildings where
public buildings, or university buildings in rainwater harvesting has been suggested and
Yemen; measure recharge rate in the bore implemented as per the International Practices
well / open structure. for Rainwater Harvesting (FAO Manual)
5. Identify the common outlets for recharge
(A) Water Spreading and Longitudinal and drainage through stormwater structures.
Trenches: 6. Identify the locations for constructing
In buildings with large open areas, rainwater harvesting sites and percolation
rooftop runoff can be diverted to soil pits in the area so that they will not disturb
or garden patches on the premises or the landscape of the area and so they will
into a longitudinal trench/pond without recharge the aquifers.
disturbing the beauty of the area. The study
team and/or consultants should provide 2 Rainwater Harvesting System Components
structure designs and cost estimates based 2.1 Catchments surfaces
on international best practices.
There are three common systems used
(B) Percolation through Pits: to collect water for domestic use: roof
Pits may be backfilled with permeable catchments, ground catchments, and rock
material like pebbles, gravel, and sand catchments. Check and sand dams are
for improved percolation. Care should be mainly used for irrigation. (See figure (2.1))
taken to avoid locating these pits near

2.1.1 Roof catchments
roof rock ground check
catchment catchment catchment and sand The roof of a building or a house is an
systems systems systems dams obvious choice for a catchment installation.
hafirs To accommodate additional capacity, one
can build an open-sided barn—called a
rain barn or a pole barn. Barns can be used
to store water tanks, pumps, filters, as well
as vehicles and tools.
Rooftop rainwater systems are popular at the
household and community level, as the water
can be readily used for domestic purposes. An
livestock consumption, added advantage is that users own, maintain,
domestic nurseries and small- and control their systems, reducing reliance
scale irrigation; some on other community members. (See figure
domestic supply (2.2)) Water quality in these systems is related
to the roof material, climatic conditions, and
Figure (2.1) Water harvesting systems and their uses the surrounding environmental conditions [6].

Figure (2.2) Roof catchment system

2.1.2 Rock and ground catchments storage reservoirs, including gutters (drain
pipes), glides, downpipes, and surface
Rooftop water tends to be of higher quality, drains or channels. Delivery systems are
and is therefore preferred for human typically the weakest link in rainwater
consumption. Where water quality is of less catchment systems. Care must be taken
concern, such as in the case of small-scale to ensure they are appropriately sized and
irrigation for food production, livestock, installed around the entire roof catchment
tree nurseries, brick-making, etc., the area. Filters should only be used if they
livelihood approach promotes the use of can be easily cleaned or are self-cleaning,
runoff water. Runoff can be stored in ponds, as they might otherwise become clogged,
however loss due to evaporation makes preventing water from being collected.
small, underground storage tanks a better
option. Rainwater on rock surfaces can be 2.2.1 Gutters and Downspouts
diverted to storage tanks using bunds and
gutters. (See figure (2.3)) Gutters are installed to capture rainwater
running off the eaves of a building. Some
2.2 Delivery System components gutter installers provide continuous or
seamless gutters. For potable water systems,
Several types of delivery system are used led cannot be used as gutter solder, as is
to transport water from catchments to sometimes the case in older metal gutters.

Figure (2.3) Ground catchment system

The slightly acidic quality of rain can dissolve installation of drains with downspouts and
led, contaminating the water supply. roof diverters near the eave edge.

The most common materials for gutters 2.2.3 Leaf screens

and downspouts are half-round PVC, vinyl,
pipe, seamless aluminum, and galvanized Filters are necessary to remove the debris
steel. Regardless of material, other necessary that gathers on the catchment surface and
components in addition to horizontal gutters to ensure adequate water quotable for
are drop outlets, which route water from the potable use. Mesh screen filters remove
gutters downward, and at least two 45-degree debris before and after the storage tank. To
elbows, which allow the downspout pipe keep debris out of a rainwater harvesting
to sit snugly against the side of the house. system, leaf screens can be installed at point
Additional components include the hardware, of drainpipe insulation or in the downspout.
brackets, and straps to fasten the gutters and These screens must be cleaned regularly to
downspout to the fascia and the wall. be effective; otherwise, they will become
clogged, impeding the flow of rainwater into
2.2.2 Gutter Sizing and Installation the tank. Debris build-up can also harbour
bacteria and the products of leaf decay.
Roofs are often built with one or more roof
valleys with different slopes—an important Leaf screens are usually ¼-inch mesh
consideration in the construction of rooftop screens in wire frames that fit at the point of
catchment systems. Roof valleys are the drainpipe installation. Leaf screens are usually
point at which two roof planes meet. The size necessary in locations with tree overhang.
of roof areas ending in a roof valley, the roof
slope, and the rainfall intensity affect the Funnel-type downspout filters are made
ability of the drainpipe to capture the water. of PVC or galvanized steel fitted with a
If these factors are not adequately accounted stainless steel or brass screen. This type of
for, spillage or overrunning may result. filter is easily accessible for cleaning. The
funnel is cut into the downspout pipe at
Other factors that may result in overrunning the same height as, or slightly higher than,
include an inadequate number of the highest water level in the storage tank.
downspouts, excessively long distances
from ridge to eave, steep roof slopes, and Strainer baskets are spherical, cage-like
inadequate gutter maintenance. These strainers that slip into the drop outlet of the
variables make it difficult to apply standard downspout.
rules for drainpipe sizing. Specialized
engineers can provide specific guidance Cylinders of rolled screen inserted into
on strategies to mitigate overrunning and drop outlet serve as another method of
to improve catchment efficiency. Such filtering debris. Screens have various grid
strategies may include modifications to sizes, from insect screen to hardware cloth.
sizing and configuration of drains and the

Figure (2.4) Basic rooftop water harvesting system including first flush pipe

Gravel, sand, and mesh filters are placed filters prevent rainwater from entering the
on top of storage tanks. These filters storage tank and the filter may overflow.
keep rainwater in the storage tank clean. The sand or gravel media should be taken
They remove silt, dust, leaves, and other out and washed being returned to the filter.
organic matter. The filter media should be (See picture (2.1))
cleaned after every rainfall event. Clogged

Figure (2.5) Brazilian first flush system

often recommend the use of simple, easily
maintained systems at minimum cost, as
they are more likely to be repaired if failure
occurs. For this reason, we outline two
simple systems:

Manual Method:
In this system, the downpipe is manually
moved away from the tank inlet for first
flush and replaced once the first flush
water has been diverted. This system does
Picture (2.1) Filter at the entrance of tank not require extra technology; however,
someone has to be present throughout the
2.2.4 First flush system initial stages of rainfall events to remove
the downpipe, otherwise contaminants will
Contaminants—debris, dirt, and dust— enter the storage tank. (See figure (2.6))
collect on roofs during dry periods. The
initial rainfall washes these contaminants Semi-automatic Method: Simple
into the storage tank. Following this ‘first downpipe first flush device
flush,’ the water is much cleaner and safer to
drink. First flush water is separating systems Semi-automatic first flush systems do not
dispose of this contaminated water to rely on individuals. Downpipe first flush
prevent it from entering the storage tank. devices are composed of a separate vertical
Rooftop rainwater harvesting systems pipe affixed to the downpipe using a “T”
incorporate systems to divert the ‘first flush’ junction. (See figure (2.7)) The initial flush
water away from the tank. Both system of rainfall runs off the roof and washes
and complex first flush systems have into the first flush downpipe, where it
been developed. Simple systems rely on is retained. When this downpipe is full,
manually operated arrangements, whereby water flows into the collection downpipe
inlet pipes are moved away from the tank and into the storage tank. Contaminated
inlet and are replaced once the first flush water in the first flush tanks can be
has been diverted. More complex systems used for purposes other than drinking,
use tipping gutters or a floating ball that e.g., cleaning, washing, and irrigation).
forms a seal once sufficient water has been
diverted. (See figure (2.4)) Wastewater 2.2.5 Filtration systems and settling
can be used for garden irrigation or other tanks
applications. (See figure (2.5)), an example
system from Brazil is shown. A number of systems are available to treat
Although more sophisticated methods water before, during, and after storage. These
provide a much more elegant means of systems range from high-tech to rudimentary:
rejecting the first flush water, practitioners

Figure (2.6) Manual Method: Simple downpipe manually moved away for first flush

Figure 2.7 Semi-automatic Method: Simple down pipe first flush device

Simple trash racks are used in many 2.2.7 Storage tanks
systems to remove large pieces of debris;
however, these racks are easily clogged Rainwater storage tanks are used to collect
and require regular cleaning. Sand filters and store filtered rainwater. These tanks
are sometimes used, but are only suitable can be constructed above ground on a
where the inflow is slow. These filters platform or as underground sumps. Tanks
overflow if inflow exceeds the rate at which are painted white to keep the water inside
water percolates through sand. Settling cool, preventing bacteria growth. Tanks are
tanks and partitions are used to remove white-washed annually. (See picture (2.2))
silt and other suspended solids. These
are effective but expensive, particularly if
elaborate techniques are used.

2.2.6 Storage tank siting

Storage tanks should be located as close to

supply and demand points as possible and
should be protected from direct sunlight.
They should also be elevated to reduce the
load on the pump, while also ensuring that the Picture (2.2) Water harvesting tank halfway
tank inlet is lower than the lowest catchment above ground
downspout. To compensate for friction losses
in the trunk line, a difference of one metre The top of the tank must remain permanently
or less is preferable. If using a well backup, covered and sealed to prevent the growth
tanks should be sited near the well house to of algae or bacteria and infiltration of
facilitate the use of existing plumbing. mosquitoes and dust. The tank should be
capped with steel or concrete slabs, and
While Sana’a does not have specific rules small cracks in the joints should be sealed
concerning the protection of rainwater with cement mortar. In the case of leaks, a
systems from contamination sources, best trained engineer should be brought in to
practices should guide siting decisions to address the problem immediately.
ensure a safe water supply. Underground tanks
should be located at least 15m away from The tap for the tank should be protected
animal stables or above-ground application of from animals, which may drink from
treated wastewater. Water runoff should not it or brush against it, leading to water
enter septic system drain fields; tank overflow contamination. The level of the tap at the
and drainage should be diverted to prevent base of the tank should not be so low that
damage to tank foundations and structures. debris from the bottom of the tanks can be
Runoff should be used for groundwater drawn up with the out-flowing water. Tanks
recharging or gardening. without taps are discouraged, as water
abstraction with a lowered bucket increases

the risk of contamination. An additional tap also cemented to draw wastewater away
can be installed in the base of a tank to from the site, directing it to a pit or a plant,
make emptying for cleaning easier. depending on which is available. (See
picture (2.4))
2.2.8 Overflow pipe
In many cases, children in the community
Overflow pipes must be installed in the play with the pipe outlet or tap, causing
top of the tank to allow the safe disposal of damage. Broken taps can cause considerable
excess rainwater and to prevent flooding. waste of the collected rainwater, which
Overflow water should be drained away flows out unabated. Broken taps also
to a pit, plant, or stormwater drain. The prevent rainwater from being collected.
size of the overflow pipe should be the Potential damage to the system makes
same as that of the inlet pipe, with mesh community ownership important. Children
at the bottom to prevent rats, squirrels, should be taught that the taps are not to
cockroaches, and other pests from entering. be played with or stood upon; outlet taps
The condition of the mesh should be should be inspected daily; simple repairs,
checked weekly to ensure that any damage like replacing washers, should be handled
is repaired immediately. (See picture (2.3)) immediately, while plumbers should be
called in for larger repairs.

Picture (2.4) Water taps outlet system and

cemented area below the tap for letting
Picture (2.3) Overflow pipe with mesh wastewater disposal

2.2.9 Water outlet use system

Every tank has an outlet system consisting

of one or more taps to draw the rainwater
out. The areas where taps are installed are

3 Quality of rainwater harvesting unsuitable catchment surfaces. Metal sheet
3.1 Introduction roofs are smooth and are less likely to retain
contamination than rougher, concrete tile
Rainwater collection systems are commonly roofs. In Yemen, concrete, cement mortar,
thought to provide safe drinking water and corrugated galvanized steel sheets are
without treatment, because collection the most common forms of roofing.
surfaces (roofs) are isolated from typical High levels of metals such as zinc, copper,
contamination sources (e.g., sanitation and lead can be found in rainwater that
systems). However, dust, leaves, and other has come into contact with metal roofs
debris are blown onto roofs, and birds and (galvanized with zinc compounds to
climbing animals defecate upon them. prevent corrosion) or fittings (lead and
Preventing these contaminants from copper flashings). Fortunately, zinc has low
entering the storage tank significantly toxicity, and runoff water from galvanized
enhances the quality of the water collected. steel roofs rarely exceeds WHO-permitted
This chapter outlines best practices in zinc levels. However, where metal roofs
rainwater collection for good quality water. have been painted, toxic compound
leaching can occur. Therefore, paint should
3.2 Types of contaminants in rainwater tanks be checked for suitability in advance;
acrylic-based paints designed for exteriors
Dust, bacteria, inorganic material, heavy and roofs in the tropics are recommended.
metals, and mosquito larva are the principal Paints containing lead, chromate, tar/
contaminants in rainwater tanks. Closed bitumen, fungicides, or other toxins should
tanks are exposed to far fewer contaminants be avoided, as they create health risks. After
than open surface tanks. Table (3.1) lists the repainting a roof, runoff water from the first
contaminants, their sources, and associated rainfall should be prevented from entering
risk mitigation techniques. the storage tank.

3.3 Suitable rain collection surfaces 3.3.2 Drainpipes (Gutters)

Roofs and gutters should be maintained to Gutters are made out of a variety of
remain free of debris, so that contaminants materials, most commonly PVC plastic
entering the storage tank are minimal. and galvanized metal. PVC gutters are
recommended, as they do not rust, allowing
3.3.1 Roofs water quality to be maintained over a long
period of time. If a large amount of leaf
Roofs are made from a variety of materials, material is present and it is not desirable
most of which are suitable as rainwater to remove an overhanging tree, drainpipe
catchment surfaces, e.g., concrete, concrete inlets or gutter screens may also be used.
tiles, metal sheets, ceramic tiles, rock slate,
and Ferro-cement. Roofs made from grass/
reed and potentially toxic materials are

Table (3.1) Types of contaminants commonly found in rainwater collection systems [9]

Contaminant Source Risk / mitigation

Moderate risk: Can be minimized by
Surrounding dirt and
regular roof and down drainpipe (gutter)
Dust and ash vegetation; volcanic
maintenance and use of a first-flush
Bird and other animal Moderate risk: Can be minimized by use of
Pathogenic bacteria droppings on roof, a first-flush device and good roof and tank
attached to dust maintenance
Low risk: Unless downwind of industrial
Dust, particularly in
activity such as a metal smelters, and/or in
Heavy metals urban and industrialized
areas where rainfall is very acidic (this may
areas; roof materials
occur in volcanic islands)
Sea spray; industrial
Other inorganic
discharges; use of Low risk: Unless very close to the ocean or
contaminants (e.g.,
unsuitable tank and/or downwind of large-scale industrial activity
salt from sea spray)
roof materials
Mosquitoes laying eggs Moderate risk: Can be minimized by
Mosquito larvae
in guttering and/or tank installing tank inlet screening without gaps

3.3.3 Appropriate storage tanks For instance, chemical drums should not
be used, as they may contain substances
Appropriate storage tanks are required to harmful to human health.
hold water collected from roofs and other
surfaces. Large tanks are usually required Storage tank materials should prevent or
to store a sufficient amount of water for minimize light penetration to reduce algal
a household. Ferro-cement tanks have growth and other biological activity, which
been used for more than a century, and helps maintain water quality good.
can provide good water quality if well
maintained. Plastic tanks are increasingly 3.3.4 Tank maintenance
popular; if constructed from food-grade
plastic material to prevent leaching of Tanks should be cleaned annually to restore
harmful compounds; these tanks are a good water quality, particularly if observations
solution. Fiberglass tanks are also common. suggest that a large amount of debris has
Open-topped vessels, such as buckets entered the tank. To clean the tank, water
and drums, are not recommended, as must be drained out to the level of the tap
debris falling into the vessel can cause and transferred to a temporary storage
contamination. It is also important that vessel. Add one litre of household bleach
vessels used are sterile and free from the to the remaining water, and scrub the tank
remnants of substances previously stored. bottom and sides thoroughly with a brush.

The remaining water and bleach solution overflow and water is lost. Fine filters also
should be removed before the tank is require regular cleaning, as they tend to
refilled. Once refilled, the water should be become clogged with particles.
left to settle overnight before use. Those
cleaning the tank and handling chlorine
bleach solutions should wear proper hand
and eye protection.

3.4 Devices & Techniques for Better

Water Quality
3.4.1 Filtration Screens

Using coarse filters or screens to preventing

leaves and debris from entering the system
can improve water quality considerably. Picture (3.1) coarse filtration screens
Leaves and debris provides food and
nutrients to micro-organisms in the water, 3.4.2 First-flush
enabling their survival. In the absence of
such nutrients, bacteria eventually die of Studies conducted in different regions show
starvation (between 2 and 20 days). Filters that the amount of first flush water that is
or screens should be durable and easy to necessary to remove for water safety varies
clean and replace. Coarse filtration screens across regions. Martinson et al. (2005) find
(made of stainless steel or synthetic mesh) that flushing 0.5mm of rain was sufficient to
are simple, inexpensive, and widely used. reduce the count of fecal coliforms to zero
These are mounted across the top inlet of on two roofs in Malaysia; however, even after
the storage tank with the downpipe above 2mm was flushed there were still significant
the screen. (See picture (3.1)) Storage fecal coliforms in the runoff from a building
tank inlets should be free of gaps where close to a bus depot in Australia. Field studies
mosquitos can enter. in Uganda show unacceptable turbidity
after 2mm have been removed, although
Alternatively, the roof downpipe can enter fecal coliform counts fell into the “low risk”
the tank through a hole at the top, with category according to WHO standards.
the filtration screen at the entrance to the
downpipe from the drainpipe or gutter. Despite uncertainty about first flush amounts,
Fine filter devices can remove fine sediment these systems are considered a good method
that would otherwise remain suspended in of improving water quality prior to storage.
the water or settle as sludge at the bottom In Yemen, additional research is required to
of the tank. Fine filter devices are typically establish recommended first flush amounts.
gravel, sand, or fine filter screens. However, However, due to short rainfalls, 0.5mm is
when tropical rain showers results in high recommended. (See Chapter 2 for more on
flow rates (> 1.5 litres/second), fine filters first flush devices.)

Table (3.2) Volume of water in the tank and
3.4.3 Water Disinfection by adding amount of added bleach
Chlorine Amount
of bleach
Rainwater harvesting systems that are not Volume of
to add
well constructed and/or maintained result Sample No. water in
(mL with
in poor water quality that poses risks to tank (L)
4% active
human health. Chlorination to kill bacteria ingredient)
is widely recommended, but users do not 1 1000 125
typically prefer this option and chemicals
2 2000 250
can be dangerous if misused. Thus, we
recommend chlorination only when one or 3 3000 375
more of the following criteria are met: 4 4000 500
5 5000 625
1. A known bacterial risk has been identified 6 6000 750
through water testing
7 7000 875
2. Individuals are getting sick as a result of
drinking the water 8 8000 1000
3. It is not feasible to completely empty a 9 9000 1125
tank for cleaning 10 10000 1250
4. Animal or fecal material has entered the 11 11000 1375
12 12000 1500

Adding small quantities of chlorine to

The above bleach amounts are based on the
your water tank is the cheapest and most
fact that enough chlorine should be added
effective means of disinfection. Chlorine
to provide a free chlorine residual of around
can be added in various forms, such as
0.5 parts per million (0.5 mg/L) after 30
common (unscented and uncolored)
minutes. As a general guide, an initial dose
household bleach. Different bleaches have
of 5 parts per million (5 mg/L) of chlorine will
different levels of active ingredient. The
provide this residual. If necessary, you can
amount of bleach to add relative to the
test the chlorine residual with a swimming
amount of water in the tank, based on a 4%
pool test kit or dip strips, which may be
active ingredient, is shown in Table (3.2).
locally obtainable. Chlorine dosing is less
effective if pH levels are over 8.5, so the pH
For example, an 8,000 L tank that is half full
level should also be checked if possible.
contains approximately 4000 L of water
so you would add 500 mL of bleach. If
Be sure to read and follow safety and
your bleach has a different level of active
handling instructions on all chlorine or
ingredient you will have to adjust the
bleach containers. For your protection,
amount of bleach added for a particular
you should wear proper hand and eye
tank size.
protection when handling or preparing

chlorine solutions. Remember to allow 24 3.5.1 Water Quality tests
hours after the time of chlorination for the
chlorine to disinfect the tank before you If the roof, drainpipe, first rain separator, and
drink the water. Chlorine is heavier than filter are kept clean, the collected rainwater
water, so it will sink to the bottom of the will be crystal clear. This is an indication that
tank. Any chlorine smell and taste in the good maintenance is being followed.
water should dissipate after a short time.
If the water is dirty or it smells bad, then the
If you find the taste of chlorine unacceptable, system is not being kept clean. Even if the
boiling water for at least five minutes before water is clear and does not smell, it must be
drinking is a suitable water safety alternative. checked for microbiological contamination.
Checking should be conducted daily for the
3.5 Water quality testing first month and weekly if the water is clear
and not foul smelling. An H2S strip test
If water quality testing is possible, the main bottle is used for water quality checking.
focus should be on microbiological testing
for fecal coliforms and enterococci and the H2S strip test bottle check:
H2S test. WHO guidelines [12] are stated that Wash your hands thoroughly with soap.
fecal bacteria should not be detectable per With clean hands, open the sealed bottle.
100 mL of sample. However, a more realistic Fill the bottle to the mark line from the
standard may be 10 fecal coliforms/100 rainwater storage tank tap. Close the cap
mL [9]. Total coliform tests are considered tightly. Bring the bottle to a safe, indoors
unreliable indicators of risk to human health space. Observe for 24 to 48 hours. If the
in the tropics, as they are naturally present water turns black in the bottle, then it
and reproduce in soil and water [9]. is microbiologically contaminated and
The physical parameters, pH and turbidity, requires treatment before being used for
should also be measured and compared drinking. If the water stays brown, then the
to WHO guidelines [12]. Rain is considered water is fit for drinking. (See picture (3.2))
acidic when the pH is <5.6 and levels below
this may cause corrosion of metal roofs and Solar disinfection (SODIS):
fittings. Heavy metals (e.g., lead, copper, In this method, rainwater is kept in a bottle
cadmium, and zinc) should also be monitored in the sun for six hours. One side of the bottle
periodically, particularly where volcanic or is painted black. The black surface is kept
industrial discharges to the air are present. on the ground. With a combination of UV
disinfection and infrared heat sterilization,
Given the current lack of testing for tank the water becomes fit for consumption. In
rainwater, it is imperative that households cloudy weather, the bottles need to be kept
are given good education (workshops, outside for a longer period. (See picture
printed material) on maintaining their (3.3)) [13]
tanks. This should be an integral part of any
rainwater tank installation project in Yemen.

4 Groundwater Recharge

Recharging groundwater is a new concept

in rainwater harvesting. This chapter
outlines several groundwater recharging

4.1 Groundwater recharge pit

If the quantity of rooftop water collected is

sufficient, pits are dug depending near the
buildings but away from foundations and
concrete structures. The proper design will
include the following considerations [13]:

• Define the sub-surface geology.

• Determine the presence or absence of
impermeable layers or lenses that can
impede percolation.
• Define depths to water table and
Picture (3.2) H2S strip test bottle groundwater flow directions.
• Establish the maximum rate of recharge
that could be achieved at the site.
• Assess the quantity and quality of water
available for recharging.

The pits are preferably located near the

courtyard of the house or around the house
in the garden and are filled with layers
of permeable materials (as a filter), such
as pebbles, gravel, and sand, for better
percolation. Recharge pits are constructed to
Picture 3.3: Solar disinfection or SODIS using a recharge the shallow aquifer. (See figure (4.1))
bottle half painted black [13]
Process of recharging pits:
Lab test: • Recharge pits are constructed to recharge
Take a bottle filled with water and test in the shallow aquifer.
the lab for most of the elements mentioned • They are generally 1m to 2m wide and 2m
above against WHO and Yemeni water quality to 3m deep.
standards. Tables (3.3) and (3.4) are listed the
WHO and Yemeni water quality standards.

Table 3.3 WHO water quality guidelines [12]

Figure (4.1) Rainwater harvesting recharge pit [14]

• After excavation, the pits are refilled with 4.1.1 Groundwater recharging pit
layers of pebbles, gravel, and coarse sand. through tube wells
• Water to be recharged should be silt free
(filtered of fine material). Rooftop rainwater harvesting can be useful
• The pit should be cleaned periodically. in recharging deep aquifers in areas where
• Pits are suitable for small buildings with shallow aquifers have dried up and tube wells
rooftop areas up to 200m2. are being used to tap deeper aquifers. To
• Recharge pits may be of any shape e.g., facilitate this recharging, PVC pipes 100mm
circular, square, or rectangular. in diameter are connected to roof drains to
• If the pit designed as a trapezoid, the collect the rainwater. The first roof runoff
side slopes should be steep enough to flows through the bottom of the drainpipe.
avoid silt deposition. Once the bottom of the pipe close, the
rainwater of subsequent rain showers flows
through a T- pipe to a 1m to 1.2m-long PVC

filter before entering the tube well. the other empty to accommodate excess
filtered water and to monitor water quality.
The filter’s diameter depends on the roof A connecting pipe with a recharge well is
area—150mm if the roof area is less than installed at the bottom of the pit, through
150m2 and 200mm if the roof area is larger— which filtered water is recharged.
and a 62.5mm reducer on each side. The
filter is divided into three chambers by PVC 4.2 Groundwater recharge trench
screens: the first is filled with gravel (6mm to
10mm), the second with pebbles (12mm to Groundwater recharge trenches are
20mm), and the third with bigger pebbles shallow trenches filled with pebbles and
(20mm to 40mm). If the roof area is larger, boulders constructed across the land slope.
a filter pit may be installed. (See figure (4.2)) (See figure (4.3))

• Recharge trenches are suitable for

buildings with roof areas of 200-300 m2
and where permeable strata are available
at shallow depths.
• Trenches may be 0.5m to 1m wide, 1m
to 1.5m deep and 10m to 20m long
depending on the availability of water to
be recharged.
• Trenches are backfilled with boulders
(5cm-20cm), gravel (5mm-10 mm), and
coarse sand (1.5-2 mm) in graded form,
Figure (4.2) A connecting pipe with recharge with boulders at the bottom, gravel in the
well at the bottom of the pit to recharge filtered middle, and coarse sand at the top so that
water through well [14] the silt content that comes with runoff
will be at the top of the sand layer and can
easily be removed.
Rooftop rainwater is taken to collection/ • Mesh should be installed on the roof so
desilting chambers on the ground. that leaves and solid waste/debris are
These interconnected chambers are prevented from entering the trenches,
also connected to the filter pit through and a desilting/collection chamber may
pipes with a 1:15 slope. Filter pits vary in also be provided on the ground to arrest
shape and size depending on available the flow of finer particles to the trench.
runoff; they are back-filled with graded • Bypass mechanisms can be installed
material—boulders at the bottom, gravel before the collection chamber to reject
in the middle, and sand at the top—with water from the first rain showers.
varying thickness (0.30m to 0.50m), often • The top layer of sand should be cleaned
separated by screens. Pits are divided into periodically to maintain the recharge rate.
two chambers: one with filter material and

Figure (4.3) Rainwater harvesting recharge trench [14]
4.2.1 Groundwater recharging trench a depth of 3m to 5pm below water level. The
through tube wells well is designed according to the lithology of
the area, consisting of a slotted pipe sitting
In areas with impervious surface soil against the shallow and deep aquifers. A
and where large quantities of roof water lateral trench, 1.5m to 3m wide and 10m to
or surface runoff are available within a 30m long, is constructed with the recharge
short period following a heavy rainfall, well in the centre. (See figure (4.4))
groundwater recharging trenches store
the water in filter media and recharge the The number of recharge wells in the trench
groundwater through special recharge should be decided on the basis of water
wells. This technique is particularly effective availability and the vertical permeability
in areas with a permeable layer within 3m of the rocks. The trench is backfilled with
of ground level. boulders, gravel, and coarse sand layers as
filters for the recharge wells. (See figures
To facilitate this technique, a recharge well (4.5) and (4.6))
of 100mm-300mm in diameter is installed at

Figure (4.4) Chamber with tube well [14]

Figure (4.5) Rooftop rainwater harvesting through trench with recharge well [14]

Figure (4.6) Rooftop rainwater harvesting through trench with recharge wells [4]

4.3 Groundwater recharge through
abandoned dug wells

Once cleaned and with all deposits

removed, dry/unused dug wells can be
used as recharge structures. Pipes guide
recharge water to the bottom of the well
or below the water level to avoid scouring
the bottom and trapping air bubbles in
the aquifer. Recharge structures should be
cleaned regularly to ensure that recharge
water remains silt free. These structures are
suitable for large buildings with roof areas
of more than 1,000 m2. Chlorination should
occur periodically to prevent bacteriological
contamination. (See figures (4.7) and (4.8))

4.4 Deep well recharging

Direct recharging of aquifers through open

wells is an easy and inexpensive process in
shallow aquifer regions. Rooftop runoff can
be directed to open wells through pipes, Figure (4.7) Abandoned Dug Well [14]

Figure (4.8) Roof rainwater process for harvesting recharge through a dug well [14]

settling in the pit to avoid turbidity. permeable strata.
To recharge deeper aquifers, 100mm • Recharge shafts can be dug manually if
to 300mm diameter recharge wells are the strata are of a non-caving nature. The
constructed, and water is passed through diameter of the shaft is normally more
filter media to avoid choking the wells. than 2m to 3m and 10m to 15m deep.
• The shaft should end in permeable strata
Bore wells or tube wells can be used as below the top impermeable strata; it
recharge structures. This technique is should not touch water table.
suitable where available land is limited and • The unlined shaft should be backfilled
where aquifers are deep and overlain by with boulders, gravel, and coarse sand in
impermeable strata (clay or rock). layers.
• For lined shafts, the recharge water may
Rooftop rainwater is canalized to the well, be fed through a smaller conductor pipe
recharging under gravity flow conditions. to reach the filter pack.
Recharge water should be silt free. The • Recharge structures are very useful for
well can also be used for pumping. This village ponds where a shallow clay layer
technique is most suitable in areas with impedes the infiltration of water to the
deep groundwater levels. The number of aquifer.
recharging structures needed depends on • In the rainy season, village tanks are filled
the rooftop area and aquifer characteristics. but water from these tanks does not
percolate down due to silt. Tube-wells and
dug wells located nearby remain dry. The
4.5 Groundwater recharging shaft water from village tanks evaporates and is
not available for use.
If the aquifer is available at a depth greater • By constructing recharge shafts in tanks,
than 20m, a shallow shaft of 2m to 5m surplus water can be recharged to
in diameter and 3m to 5m deep may be groundwater. Recharge shafts of 0.5m
constructed, depending on the availability to 3m in diameter and 10m to 15 m
of runoff. Inside the shaft, a recharge well deep are constructed depending on the
of 100mm to 300m diameter is installed availability of quantum of water. The top
to recharge available water to deeper of shaft is kept above the tank bed level,
aquifers. (See figure (4.9)) Filter media at preferably at half full supply level. These
the bottom of the shaft prevents choking of are backfilled with boulders, gravel, and
the recharge well. The following describes coarse sand.
the shaft technique: • At the 1m to 2m depth, brick masonry
work stabilizes the structure.
• A recharge shaft is dug manually or • Through this technique, all accumulated
drilled by the reverse/direct rotary water in the village tank above the
method, which is the most efficient and 50% full supply level is recharged to
cost-effective technique for recharging groundwater. (See figure (4.10)) Sufficient
unconfined aquifers overlain with poorly water will remain in the tank for domestic

Figure (4.9) Rainwater harvesting from roof through shaft without injection well [14]

Figure (4.10) Rainwater harvesting from roof through shaft without injection well [14]

use after recharge. 5 Hydrological Data Analysis
• The shafts are dug where the contour 5.1 Introduction
and topology of a large area permit
unidirectional flow and where there are Rainwater collection systems consist of three
steep slopes. basic components: a catchment surface,
• Shafts are terminated above the aquifer a delivery system, and a storage reservoir.
level and are usually cased with PVC to Storage reservoirs include various types of
prevent contamination and collapse. surface and sub-surface tanks, ponds, rock
These are backfilled with sandy soil, that catchments dams, earth dams, hafirs, and
facilities fast and efficient percolation and sub-surface or sand dams in sand rivers and
mitigate bio and chemical pollution after soils. Use of these systems depends on the
filtration through the soil. quantity and pattern of rainfall; catchments
• To recharge the upper and deeper surface area, storage capacity, and demand
aquifers, lateral shafts of 1.5m to 2m wide for consumable water, cost of unit water,
and 10m to 30 m long, depending upon alternative water sources, and the local
availability of water, and one or two bore water management strategy. Households’
wells are constructed. The lateral shafts rainwater harvesting systems also provide
are backfilled with boulders, gravel, and useful quantities of water for domestic
coarse sand. (See figure (4.11)) small-stock, vegetable gardens, and
supplementary irrigation of rain-fed crops.

Figure (4.11) Rainwater harvesting lateral shaft with injection well [4]

Rainfall quantity (mm/year): The amount Catchment surface area (m2): Rooftop
of water available to the consumer is catchments systems are restricted by the
a product of the total available rainfall size of the roof of the dwelling. Sometimes
and the catchment surface area. A loss other surfaces are used to supplement the
coefficient is often included to allow for rooftop catchment area (see figure (5.1)).
evaporation and other losses. The mean
annual rainfall data tells us how much rain 5.2 Rainfall measurements and
falls in an average year. analysis

Rainfall pattern: Climatic conditions vary Rainfall is likely the first meteorological
widely throughout the world. The rainfall element measured by humans. There is
pattern and the total rainfall often determine evidence that rainfall measurements were
the feasibility of rainwater harvesting taken and records maintained in the fourth
systems. A climate where rain falls regularly century (probably in India).
throughout the year will mean that the storage
requirement is low, hence the system cost will The following difficulties are encountered
be low and vice versa. The more detailed the in the accurate measurement of rainfall:
data available, the more accurately the system • Any suitable device for use as rain gauge
parameters can be defined. extends above the surface of the earth

Figure (5.1) General roof catchments and harvesting water uses

and creates eddy currents, which affect varies in a regular manner, results of the
the amount of the catch. arithmetic average method are typically
• Wind affects the amount of the catch, satisfactory and in line with the results of
and relatively few sites are sufficiently other methods. This method is used to
sheltered from wind to minimize the measure storm rainfall, and monthly and
wind effects while remaining sufficiently annual rainfall. Table (5.1) lists the results
clear of obstructions to make the site of rainfall data from six stations using this
typical of the surrounding area for method, resulting in an average of 20.1mm.
storms from all directions.
• A measurement of rainfall is never Table (5.1) Computation of average precipitation
subject to verification by repetition and using the arithmetic mean method
seldom by duplication. Average
• The samples constituting the Station Precipitation
measurements are small compared to No. in [mm]
the total rainfall over the area.
1 15
2 19
5.3 Computation of Average Rainfall 3 20
over a Basin 4 16.6 P = 120.6/6
5 22 = 20.1 mm
To compute the average rainfall over a
catchment area of basin, rainfall is measured 6 28
with a number of gauges and measuring Total
devices. Hydrologists rely on their experience [mm]
and knowledge to determine the number
of gauges required to measure rainfall in a 5.3.2 Thiessen Polygon Method
particular area. Hydrologists also refer to World
Meteorological Organization requirements. The Thiessen polygon method is a weighted
mean method. Rainfall is never uniform over
In areas where more than one rain gauge is the entire area of the basin or catchment;
established, the following methods may be it varies in intensity and duration. Thus,
employed to compute the average rainfall [15]: rainfall recorded by each gauge station
• Arithmetic average method should be weighted according to its area.
• Weighing mean method or Thiessen This method is suitable under the following
polygon method conditions:
• Isohyetal method • Moderate area size
• Few rainfall stations compared to the
5.3.1 Arithmetic average method size of the basin
• Moderate rugged areas
Because rain gauges are uniformly For the construction of the polygon, the
distributed over an area and rainfall following procedure is recommended:

P2 Step 1: Draw the area
concerned to a suitable
P4 P5 scale, showing its
boundary, locations of the
rain gauges in the area
P6 and outside but close to
P7 the boundary

Figure (5.2): Basin area and location of stations


P2 Step 2: Join locations of the

rain gauges to form
P4 P5 a network of triangles


Figure (5.3): Draw triangles



P4 Step 3: Draw perpendicular

P3 bisectors to the triangle sides.
These bisectors form polygons
around the stations


Figure (5.4): Draw perpendicular bi-sectors of the triangles

Step 4: Delineate the formed

P1 polygons and measure their areas
A using a planimeter or by
A2 P2 1 converting them into smaller
regular geometric shapes (i.e

A4 .), triangles, squares, rectangles,

A3 P4
A5 P5
Step 5: Compute the average rainfall using the
following formula
P1xA1 + P2 xA2 +... + PnxAn
P6 A7
A1 + A2 + .... + An

Figure (5.5): Draw polygons

The calculated or measured sections (Ai) of a basin that joins the places where
of the polygon and the rainfall (Pi) are rainfall amounts are equal. An isohyetal
given; then the average precipitation over map showing contours of equal rainfall is
the catchments is computed as a result of a more accurate picture of the rainfall over
multiplication of the total rainfall intensity the basin. This method is suitable under the
and the total area (Ai *Pi). Table (5.2) lists the following conditions:
average rainfall computed by this method. • Hilly and rugged areas
• Large areas over 5,000 km2
5.3.3 Isohyetal method • Areas where the network of rainfall
stations within the storm area is
An isohyetal is a line on the rainfall map sufficiently dense

Table 5.2: Average rainfall computed by the Theissen polygon method

Bi-sectional areas Measured precipitation

(Col. 2 * Col. 3) Average
Station No. (Ai) (Pi)
(Ai *Pi) rainfall
[km2] [mm]
P1 25 10 250
P2 125 15 1875
P3 80 20 1600
P4 90 17 1530
= 21.0 mm
P5 120 25 3000
P6 115 40 4600
P7 130 12 1560
Total 685 14415

16.5 25

48.7 75

68.3 100 100

39 75.7 125 125


Figure (5.8): Isohyetal map
To draw an isohyetal map for a basin, the Table (5.3) summarizes the results and the
following procedure is usually applied: average rainfall.
Example: Calculate the average rainfall
over the area given in figure (5.8) using the Pave = 103, 875.69/1,602.59 = 64.82 mm
isohyetal method

Solution: Using the above procedure, as

indicated in figures (5.6) and (5.7).

Figure (5.6): Basin area and rainfall stations

Step 2: Draw the

isohyetes of various
values by considering
the point rainfall data
as guidelines and
interpolating between
them. Also,
incorporate the
knowledge of
orographic effects.

Figure (5.7): Draw the isohyetal lines

Step 3: Determine the area between each pair of the isohyet lines,
either by a planimeter or by converting the areas into smaller regular
geometric shapes.

Step 4: Calculate the average rainfall using the following formula:

Pav =
A1 (P1 + P2)/2 + A2 (P2 + P3)/2 + . . . + An-1(Pn-1 + Pn)/2

(A1 + A2 + . . . + An)

Table (5.3) Rainfall computation by Isohyetal Method

Isohyet Area Average Rainfall volume

(mm) Between Rainfall (col 3 x col4)
Isohyets (mm) (mm - Sq.Km)
125 33.28 125.0 4,160.00
100 197.12 112.5 22,176.00
75 296.96 87.5 25,984.00
50 501.76 62.5 31,360.00
25 494.11 37.5 18,529.13
Less 25 79.36 21.0 1,666.56
5.3.4 Comparison of the three methods: drawing the isohyets and in assigning the
proper means rainfall values for the area
Arithmetic mean method: between them is required.
• This is the simplest and easiest method • This method shares many merits with
used to compute average rainfall. the Thiessen method.
• In this method, every station has equal
weight regardless of its location. 5.3.5 Rainfall data
• If the recording stations and rainfall are uniformly
distributed over the entire catchment, then this Rainfall rates vary, especially in areas
method is equally accurate. receiving less than 500mm of precipitation
annually. Rainfall also varies across
Thiessen method: locations, so data from a specific rain gauge
• This method is also mechanical. station may be misleading when applied to
• In this method, the rainfall stations a rainwater harvesting system in a different
located at a short distance beyond the location. Researchers can draw rainfall
boundary of drainage are also used to data from a number of sources, including
determine the mean rainfall of the basin, the National Water Resources Authority
but their influence diminishes as the in Sana’a. Data for Sana’a between 1990
distance from the boundary increases. and 2003 is listed in Appendix I; it reports
• It is commonly used for flat and low a mean annual rainfall of 243mm. This
rugged areas. average is used in rainwater harvesting
calculations for Sana’a.
Isohyetal method:
• This is the best method for rugged areas 5.4 Rainfall Intensity, Duration, and
and hilly regions. Frequency
• It is the most accurate method if the
contours are drawn correctly. However, to Rainfall intensity refers to the depth of
obtain the best results, good judgment in rainfall occurring in duration equal to

a unit of time. Units of measurement Y-coordinate, the duration is on the
include mm/hr, mm/d, inch/h, and inch/d. X-coordinate and the curves are for the
Rainfall depths and intensities are useless return periods (frequencies) of 2, 5, 10, 25,
by themselves; they must be related to a 50, and 100 years, are based on procedures
frequency of occurrence. The frequency of available in Hydrology texts.
occurrence establishes the risk of failure.
To produce curves with similar straight
The rainfall characteristics of a place can lines, draw these curves on log-log
be defined if the intensities, durations, paper. (See figure (5.9)) Each curve has an
and frequencies of the various storms exponential equation related to intensity
aare known. Whenever intense rainfall and duration. For example, the 25-year IDF
occurs, meteorological readings report its curve for Sana’a has the following equation:
magnitude and duration.
I = 674.86 * (t - 0.7537) (1)
Preparation of the Intensity Duration
Frequency (IDF) curves of computed Where:
rainfall intensities (mm) of the time series I intensity (mm/hr)
for Sana’a, where the intensity is on the t duration (min)

Figure (5.9) Rainfall IDF Curves, Sana’a

5.5 Runoff calculation mean rainfall intensity. This means that the
rainfall-runoff process is not random and
The rational method is probably the most that the runoff coefficient C is not a random
popular method for designing hydraulic variable. On the other hand, C should be
structures. It is preferable in storm design a random variable in natural watersheds
systems in urban areas and has been refined where the runoff coefficient depends on
and applied all over the world. Although antecedent rainfall conditions.
the rational method incorporates empirical
aspects and its applications require The total runoff volume is calculated based on:
judgment and experience, it is founded •Characteristics of the rainfall event(rainfall
on a theoretical basis and a well accepted intensities)
hypothesis. This makes the method • Size of the catchment area
transferable from one country to another. • Runoff coefficient (see Table (5.4)):
o For flat slopes or impermeable soils use
The rational method looks very simple, higher values
which is why it remains so popular. However, o For flat slopes or permeable soils use
it is founded on implicit hypotheses that lower values
have limitations. o For steep slopes or impermeable soils
use the higher values
The first hypothesis assumes that Qp is
produced by the mean rainfall intensity of Table (5.4) Runoff coefficients [16]
duration equal to the time of concentration, Type of surface or land
tc, so it is independent of the temporal Runoff coefficient C
distribution of instantaneous intensities Forest 0.1 - 0.3
over that duration. This means that the
Turf or meadow 0.1 - 0.4
rainfall-runoff process is assumed to be
linear. If it were non-linear, the rational Cultivated field 0.2 - 0.4
method could lead to errors. Consequently, Bare earth 0.2 - 0.9
the method should not be used in the Pavement, concrete or
0.8 - 0.9
following cases: asphalt
Flat residential, about
• Watersheds with important storage 0.40
30% impervious
effects, such as detention basins, flood Flat residential, about
plains, storage backwater effects in flat 0.55
60% impervious
areas, or submerged outlet conditions.
Sloping residential,
• Watersheds with strong variations in the 0.60
about 70% impervious
aerial distributions of land slopes or land use.
Sloping, built-up, about
The second hypothesis is probabilistic, 80% impervious
because it assumes that the peak runoff, Flat commercial, about
0.70 - 0.8
Qp, has the same return period as the 90% impervious

multiply the mean annual rainfall by
Runoff can be calculated using following the horizontal catchment area runoff
equation: coefficient. When averaged over the long
term, runoff coefficients range from 0.6-
C × IT × A 0.75 for well-constructed concrete roofs.
QT = (2)
6.2 Sizing a domestic RWH system
QT: runoff rate for a T-year storm, (m3/s) When designing a rainwater harvesting
C: runoff coefficient, non-dimensional system, the main calculation is of the size
IT: rainfall intensity for a T-year storm at a of the water tank required for adequate
storm duration t, (mm/hr); see equation 1. storage capacity. Storage requirements are
A: catchment area (km2) determined by interrelated factors, including:
• local rainfall data and weather patterns
The cumulative volume of rainwater over • roof catchments area
the storm duration can be calculated by • runoff coefficient, which varies between
multiplying the average runoff rate QT by 0.5 and 0.9 depending on roof material
the design storm duration and slope
• number of users
VT = 3600 * QT * t (3) • consumption rates per user
Rainwater harvesting use patterns will also
Where influence system components and their size.
t: storm duration in hours
VT: total runoff volume at time t for a T-year 6.2.1 Local Rainfall Data
storm in litres
For water harvesting, we use the median
6 Design Considerations year rainfall data over 10 years data in
6.1 Introduction Sana’a [17]. The median rainfall for the
years (1993 to 2003) is 303 mm/year (see
To accurately estimate the potential Table 6.1). The monthly rates of this median
rainwater supply from a catchment, reliable year are used to estimate tank capacity (see
rainfall data for a 10-year period is required. Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Appendix IV).
Household water demand estimation
requires care, as demand varies over time The selection of Median Year (2001) is
and across seasons. The WHO reports that based on the following:
daily water requirements for drinking 1- The year value is more than the average
cooking, and personal hygiene are about year and nearst to the average value
20 litres to 30 litres per person. 2- It should has at least 11 months of reading

Estimating maximum rainwater runoff Annual rainfall in descending order is as

supply is possible if good data is available: follows:

350, 341, 330, 316.5, 303, 227, 201.5, NASA, TRMM
124.5, 124, 111.5 TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and
the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
The annual rainfall rate of 350 mm/year is (JAXA). In November 1997, a TRMM satellite
equaled or exceeded only once in ten years, was launched, achieving a low inclination
and the average 243 mm/year is equaled or orbit covering the tropics between 40S
exceeded five years’ values and less than and 40N latitude. Primary rainfall sensors
five years values. Therefore, 243 mm/year is on the spacecraft include the 13.8 GHz
used for the design. Precipitation Radar (PR) and the TRMM
Microwave Imager (TMI). TRMM also carries
Calculations of harvested water volume a Visible and Infrared Radiometer, the
are based on an annual average rainfall Clouds and Earth Radiant Energy System
of 243 mm. (See table (6.1)) The following (CERES), and the Lighting Imaging System.
examples calculate the volume harvested All instruments, except the CERES, remain
for different sites and surface areas. (See operational, providing detailed rainfall
Tables (1, 2, and 3) of Appendix II for information for the tropics.
harvested water volume). The TRMM PR is the first and only
precipitation radar in space. It provides
More accurate estimations are calculated detailed information on the three-
using analysis of rainfall data from two dimensional structure of rain systems with
additional sources—NASA Tropical Rainfall a horizontal resolution of approximately
Measuring Mission (TRMM) and WEC 4km and 80 vertical levels with a resolution
2002—to validate the above selection of of 250m. However, the PR is a cross-track
rainfall rate. scanner with a relatively narrow swath
width (~215km), resulting in limited

Table 6.1 Rainfall data, Sana’a (1990-2003)

Year Annual
Type of year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
1990 0 2.5 40.5 19 3.5 0 31.5 2 25 0 0 0 124
Mini year 1991 0 5.5 45 11 11.5 0 2.5 35 0.5 0 0 0.5 111.5
Max Year 1992 2.5 0.5 20 20 64.5 3 10 140 24.5 26 0 39.5 350
1993 2.5 9 13.5 83 79.5 6 3 25 30.5 1 45 19 316.5
1997 5.5 1.5 14.5 29.5 7.5 2 12.5 33.5 0 60.5 34 1 201.5
1998 0 0.5 8 19 68.5 0 63 176 0 0 6.5 341
2000 0.5 8 30 57.5 9 58.5 2.5 16 2.5 146 330
Median Year 2001 29 108 31 13 1 0 49 21.5 21 22.5 7 1 303
2002 0 0.5 8 1 1 0 49 21.5 21 22.5 0 0 124.5
2003 0 0 10.5 52.5 12.5 0.5 0 0 0 3 2 146 227
Ave year 4.33 12.80 19.90 27.80 30.70 1.28 22.95 51.20 12.50 15.15 9.60 39.17 243

sampling for climate. A PR surface rainfall Source:
map for 1 January 1998 shows the PR Giovanni/tovas/TRMM_V6.3B42.2.shtml
sensor’s coverage for one day. Although Selected parameter: 3-hourly TRMM 3B42
the PR sampling is more limited than other (V6) Accumulated Rainfall
satellite rain sensors, it provides a more Selected area: lat = [15N,16N],
detailed report of tropical rain systems. lon=[44E,45E], (44°13’E, 15°28’N, Elevation:
The other primary rain sensor on board Selected time period: (21Z31Jan1999-
TRMM is the TMI—a 9-channel passive 21Z31Dec2009)
microwave radiometer. The TMI observed Unit: (mm)
brightness temperatures are sensitive to Average of 243 mm/yr coincides with the
integrated quantities of water vapour, previous average obtained from NWRA
liquid water, and ice in the atmosphere, data.
and surface temperature and wind speed
over ocean regions. As a result, TMI does not WEC 2002
directly provide information on the vertical During the course of the Well Inventory
structure of rain systems. The horizontal study conducted by WEC, rainfall rates
resolution of the sensor is also much were obtained and isohyets are drawn
lower, varying from around 5km for the over the basin including from the Sana’a
highest frequencies, which are sensitive to Municipality. Figure (6.1) shows the
precipitation-sized ice particles, to around isohyets.
40km for the lowest frequency channels,
which are sensitive to liquid water droplets. The northern and southern limits of the
The TMI sensor has a swath width more city lie at the isohyet fringes of 202mm and
than three times larger (~759 km) than that 285mm respectively. The average isohyet
of the PR, providing much better sampling of Sana’a is 244mm, confirming the NWRA
of rain systems for climate applications. A average.
corresponding TMI surface rainfall map for 1
January 1998 shows the sampling provided 6.3 Estimating harvested volumes and
by the TMI sensor. Using the TRM model, the tank sizes
authors have obtained the following table (
Table 6.2 ) for 10 years (1999-2009). In Yemen, water-conserving households

Table 6.2 Sana’a rainfall from 1999 to 2009 (NASA)

Latitude Longitude 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
15.0000 44.0000 244 144 398 306 244 263 347 464 316 241 158 284
15.0000 44.2500 184 80 368 173 288 141 347 395 200 139 106 220
15.2500 44.0000 232 101 280 192 275 182 275 426 210 168 130 225
220 109 349 224 269 195 323 428 242 183 131 243

Figure (6.1) Isohyets map showing the mean annual rainfall across Sana’a Basin (mm)

use between is 30 and 100 litres per person calculate storage requirements based on
daily. In Sana’a, an average household uses consumption rates and building occupancy.
60 litres per person daily. When considering
rainwater harvesting system, households Example:
served by a water utility can calculate per
capita demand by referring to water metres The following typical data are given:
or bills, dividing monthly demand by the
number of people in the house and the Consumption per capita per day for
number of days in the month. Demand is drinking and cooking water (C) =
largely unaffected by changes in weather, 30 liters/C/Day)
although changes in household occupancy Number of people per household (N) = 6 people
rates can be seasonal, and more water Dry Period (DP) = 150 days
tends to be consumed during the hot
summer months. However, these changes Required parameter:
tend to be minor and need not be factored
into these calculations. Storage Capacity (SC)

Households solely dependent on rainwater Solution:

should adopt efficient water use practices,
both indoors and outdoors—e.g., turning SC = C x N x DP
off water while brushing teeth or shaving. SC= 30 x 6 x 150 = 27,000 liters
Overall demand for showers, baths, and Or = 27 m3 (for the 150 days dry period)
faucet use is a function of time of use and
rate of flow. Few people fully open the This simple method assumes sufficient
faucet flow, finding low or moderate rates rainfall and catchment areas, and is
comfortable. Flow rates and household therefore only applicable in areas where
consumption may be worth measuring to this is the situation. It is a method for
improve estimate accuracy. acquiring rough estimates of tank size.

Several techniques are used to estimate

water demand from storage tanks, 6.3.2 Supply Side Approach (SSA)
• Demand Side Approach (DSA) In low rainfall areas or areas where the
• Supply Side Approach (SSA) rainfall is of uneven distribution, more care
o Computational Method has to be taken to properly estimate the
o Graphical method size the storage tank required. There may
• Computer Method (CM) be an excess of water at some times of year,
while at other times there will be a deficit.
6.3.1 Demand Side Approach (DSA) So, if there is sufficient water throughout
the year to meet demand, then sufficient
The DSA is a very simple method used to storage will be required to bridge periods

of scarcity. As storage is expensive, this Annual average rainfall: 243 mm per year
should be calculated carefully to avoid Runoff coefficient: 0.70 (for concrete roofs)
unnecessary expense.
Required parameters to find:
A. Computational Method 1.Harvested volume/month
In this case study, several types of buildings 2.Harvested volume/day
with different roof surface areas have been 3.Storage capacity
selected to calculate rainwater harvesting 4.Size of the tank
quantity and costs of pipes and tanks. The
building categories are: Solution:
1- Hospital educational building (located Annual available water (assuming all is
at Sana’a University) with an average collected) = 1560*0.243*0.7= 265.4 m3
roof surface area of 1560 m2 (Or obtain from Tables 1, 2 and 3 of Annex
2- Commercial building with an average II, directly or by interpolation, according
roof surface area of 5000 m2 to the runoff coefficients)
3- Public building with an average roof 1.Monthly available water = 265.4/12 =
surface area of 200 m2 ad 22.12 m3 / month
4- School building (Shaheed Mohammed 2.Daily available water = 22.12/30 =
Shami Basic School) with an average 0.737 m3/day.
roof surface area of 682 m2. 3.Referring to Table 1 in Appendix III: The
tank storage capacity, which is adequate
The sample calculations of the above for this standard area, is 117.12 m3
surface areas can be applied to similar (More calculation details in footnotes of
buildings with different roof surface areas. Table 1 of Annex III)
The only variables in the calculations are 4.Size of the tank
roof surface area and average rainfall of the To design a tank of 117.12 m3
building location; however, rainfall can be Assume:
estimated generally as an average for the 1) Depth of tank = 2.00- 4.00m
whole city, leaving the surface roof area 2) Breadth to length ratio= (B: L = 1:2)
the only variable. The following examples Therefore, area = 117.12/ 3 = 39.04 m2
clarify the steps to calculate rainwater (considering 3m depth)
harvesting quantity, storage tank size, pipe Assume length = 10 m
size, first flush pipe size, and costs. Then the breadth = 4m
Size of tank = 10m x 4m x 3m = 120 m3 (OK)
Examples (1) Examples (2)
Site 2: Commercial building, Sana’a Yemen
Site 1: Sana’a university education
hospital, Sana’a Yemen Given data:
Given data: Roof area: 5000 m2
Roof area: 1560 m2 (see general plan (1) of Annual average rainfall: 243 mm per year
appendix (II) Runoff coefficient: 0.70 (for concrete roofs)

Required parameters to find: Solution:
1.Harvested volume/month Annual available water (assuming all is
2.Harvested volume/day collected) = 200*0.243*0.7 = 34.02 m3
3.Storage capacity 1.Monthly available water = 34.02/ 12 =
4.Size of the tank 2.835 m3/ month
2.Daily available water = 2.835/ 30 =
Solution: 0.0945 m3/ day
Annual available water (assuming all is 3.Referring to Table 3 in Appendix III: The
collected) = 5000*0.243*0.7 = 850.5m3 tank storage capacity = 15. 02 m3
1.Monthly available water = 850.5/12 = (More calculation details in footnotes of
70.83m3/month Table 1 of Annex III)
2.Daily available water= 70.83/30 = 4.Size of the tank:
2.361m3/ day To design a tank of 15.02 m3
3.Referring to Table 2 in Appendix III: The Assume:
tank storage capacity, which is adequate 1) Depth of tank = 2.00- 4.00m
for this standard area, is = 375.30 m3 2) Breadth to length ratio= (B: L = 1:2)
(More calculation details in footnotes of Therefore Area = 15.02/ 2 = 7.51 m2
Table 1 of Annex III) (considering 3m depth)
4.Size of the tank Assume length = 4 m
To design a tank of 375.3 m3 Then the breadth = 2m
Assume: Size of tank = 4m x 2m x 2m = 16 m3 (OK)
1) Depth of tank = 2.00- 4.00m
2) Breadth to length ratio= (B: L = 1:2) Example (4)
Therefore Area = 375.3/ 4 = 93.825 m2 Site 4: Shaheed Mohammed Shami Basic
(considering 3m depth) School, Sana’a, Yemen
Assume length = 14 m Given data:
Then the breadth = 7m Roof area: 681.5 m2 (see Plan (2) of appendix (II)
Size of tank = 14m x 7m x 4m = 392 m3 (OK) Annual average rainfall: 243 mm per year
Example (3) Runoff coefficient: 0.70 (for concrete roofs)
Site 3: Public building, Sana’a Yemen
Required parameters to find:
Given data: 1.Harvested volume/month
Roof area: 200 m2 2.Harvested volume/day
Annual average rainfall: 243 mm per year 3.Storage capacity
Runoff coefficient: 0.70 (for concrete roofs) 4.Size of the tank

Required parameters to find: Solution:

1.Harvested volume/month Annual available water (assuming all is
2.Harvested volume/day collected) = 685.1* 0.243 * 0.7= 116.54 m3
3.Storage capacity 1.Monthly available water = 116.54 / 12 =
4.Size of the tank 9.712 m3/ month

2.Daily available water = 9.712 / 30 = greatest excess of water over and above
0.324 m3/ day consumption. This occurs in March with a
3.Referring to Table 4 in Appendix III: The storage requirement of 51.02m3. This water
tank storage capacity adequate for this will have to be stored to cover the shortfall
standard area = 51.01 m3 during the dry months.
(More calculation details in footnotes of Important notes:
Table 1 of Annex III) • This calculation is based on the
4.Size of the tank: assumption that you want to collect
To design a tank of 51.01 m3 all available rainwater. Other strategies
Assume: could be to collect enough water for the
1) Depth of tank = 2.00- 4.00m dry season.
2) Breadth to length ratio= (B: L = 1:2) • Please note that table (4) and its
Therefore Area = 51.01/ 3 = 17 m2 corresponding graph (figure (2.3))
(considering 3m depth) should start after the dry season. In our
Assume length = 6 m case, it starts in January but it can be
Then the breadth = 3 m any other month depending on the
Size of tank = 6m x 3m x 3m = 54 m3 rainfall data. If you get negative results
(OK) in the last column, you must get water
from somewhere else in this month.
B. Graphical Method (for example 4) • Choose a typical rainfall year for your
For the school building we can calculate calculation. The monthly average rainfall
the storage capacity from the rainfall data (e.g., over 10 years) tends to lead to small
graphically as follows: storage volumes, as there is rainfall in
Figures (6.2) and (6.3) compare water unusual months (where there is normally
harvested and the amount of harvested no rainfall). This typical year is 2001.
water that can be supplied to the school.
Note that there are two rainy seasons with 6.3.3 Computer Models (CM)
dry periods. The month of January yields
some quantity after the dry months of There are several computer-based programs
November and December. If we assume that that calculate tank size quite accurately.
the tank is empty at the end of December, The most suitable for our purposes is the
we can form a graph of cumulative Rainwater Tank Performance Calculator,
harvested water and cumulative demand accessible online:
and calculate the maximum storage https://war
requirement for the school. (See figure (6.4)) research/grouplist/structural/dtu/rwh/
Table (4) of Annex III shows the spreadsheet and
calculation for sizing the storage tank. It
takes into consideration the accumulated model/index.html
inflow and outflow from the tank. The
capacity of the tank is calculated as the The calculator asks for 10 years of monthly

Cubic Meters
60,00 55


30,00 25

20,00 15 16
11 11 11
10,00 4
1 0 1
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Figure (6.2) – Rainfall collected on the school roof in 2001



Cubic Meters


16 Demand Line
11 11 11


1 0 1
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Figure (6.3): Comparison of the harvestable water and the demand for each month.



140,00 Cumulative demand

Maximum Storage
Capacity occurs in
120,00 March: 46,6 m³
Cubic Meters






Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Figure (6.4): Predicted cumulative inflow and outflow from the tank. The maximum storage
requirement occurs in March.

data (i.e., 120 values). Unfortunately, few drinking, can be built with surprisingly
users have access to ‘actual monthly’ rainfall small tanks.
data. In such cases, ‘mean monthly’ data, • On days when rainfall is heavy, a small
reported in atlases and national yearbooks, tank will soon become full and start
must be used, treating every year as if it to overflow. An inefficient system is
were an average year. one where, taken over a year, overflow
The calculator calculates the approximate constitutes a significant fraction of the
system reliability and efficiency for a water flowing into the tank. However,
selection of tank sizes, including one that insufficient storage volume is not the
you can define using your monthly rainfall only cause of inefficiency: poor guttering
data and roof area. You can also define how will fail to catch water during intense
the rainwater will be used given nominal rain, leaking tanks will lose water, and
daily demand and choosing between three an oversized roof will intercept more
water management strategies. rainfall than is needed.

Important note:
To start the calculations, provide an 6.4 Design Applications on Taiz and Ibb
estimated tank size. Then the calculator will cities
give you values for other tank sizes as well,
and you can vary the parameters to suit The above examples are also applicable to
your conditions. other areas in Yemen. Data related to rainfall,
roof surfaces, and runoff coefficients for
Comments on tank sizing: each city are used to calculate tank sizes.
• In reality, the cost of tank materials Tables (1), (2), and (3) of annex III can also be
will often govern the choice of tank used to estimate water harvesting volumes.
size. In other cases, such as large RWH Following the same procedures as in the
programs, standard tank sizes are used above examples, sizes of water tanks are
regardless of consumption patterns, then found using tables (1) and (2) of annex
roof size, or number of individual users. V for Taiz and Ibb cities respectively.
• An oversized roof slightly compensates
for an undersized tank. The following data are used for Taiz:
• If users are able and willing to adjust Roof area (houses) = 200 m2
their consumption downwards during Average rainfall = 555mm/yr (see Table
dry seasons, or when they find water RC = 0.7
levels in their tank lower than average,
tanks can be smaller. The following data are used for Ibb:
• ‘Partial’ rainwater harvesting systems, Roof area (houses) = 200 m2
either where it is accepted that rainwater Average rainfall = 500.3mm/yr
will not meet needs throughout the RC = 0.7
year or where rainwater is only used to
meet specific water needs like cooking/

6.5 Pipe Design
Providing a collector pipe of diameter (D) =
Here, we discuss the design of two types of 0.1 m diameter = 4-inch pipe
pipe: flow pipes and flush pipes. The surface
area used to design the pipes is that of the Area A = π * (D2 / 4 ) = π * ((0.1)2 / 4) =
School mentioned in example 4. Using the 0.00785 m2
steps described in the following examples, Perimeter P = πD = 3.14 * 0.1 = 0.314 m
other surface areas can be also used. Hydraulic Mean Radius, R = A / P
R = 0.00785 / 0.314 = 0.025 m
6.5.1 Flow pipes
Providing a slope of 0.5% for the collector
Flow pipes transport harvested water to pipe, Manning roughness n= 0.025
storage tanks. The assumption in the design Flow velocity V = (1/n) * R2/3 * S 0.5 =
an estimation of the diameter on the basis ((1/0.025) * (0.025)2/3 * (0.005 )0.5 = 0.24m/sec
of the total roof area that produces a flow Discharge q = A × V = 0.00785 * 0.24
of Q at a certain level of rainfall intensity. = 0.00019m3 /sec
The flow pipe should be installed on the = 0.19liter / sec < 0.21 liters/sec
building with the same designed diameter. (OK)
The following example illustrates the Results: D= 100.84mm (4 inch)
design process. Use a down flow pipe size of 4 inches to
collect the flow from the roof area of 681
Example 5 m2 into the storage tank.
(School building)
6.5.2 First Flush pipe
Given data:
During heavy rain with maximum A minimum design criterion is that the
intensity (I) of 10 mm/hr device should divert the first 0.5mm of
Runoff coefficient (RC) =0.75 rainfall to ensure better water quality
School roof area (A) = 681m2 arriving at the storage tanks. The first flow
is essentially the first rain to wash the roof
Required: before water is stored. The diverted volume
Diameter of flow pipe can be collected in barrels or small tanks
for gardening and other uses, or it can be
Solution: diverted to recharge groundwater. See
Maximum rate of runoff from roof (Q) = references to the types of first flush systems
(I / 1000) * ((A* RC)/ 3600) in section 2.2.4 of Chapter 3, highlighting
Q= [(10/ 1000) * ((681 * 0.75)/ 3600) = the experiences of different countries.
0.00021 m3/ s = 0.21 liter/s
The following assumptions are suggested
Provide a minimum slope of the collector for the size of the flush pipe:
pipe of 0.05 mm in a length of 10 m 1- length (L) ranges 1m to 2 m
2- diameter is equals D or 1.25 D of the

down flow pipe diameter trench according to a given rainfall intensity,
3- The Brazilian flush pipe setup is roof surface area, runoff coefficient, and
preferable ((See figures (2.2),and (2.3))in infiltration rate of coarse sand. The same
section 2.2.4 of Chapter 3) procedure can be used for the pit.

Due to short rainfall periods and water Given data:

scarcity in Yemen, flush volumes should Filter materials:
be used effectively. • Coarse sand: size of sand varies from
1.0mm - 2.0 mm (the limiting factor)
The following example estimates the • Gravel size varies from 5mm to 10 mm and
volume of water to be flushed at the start • Boulders varies from 5cm to– 20 cm
of the rainy season. Infiltration rate of sand (IF) = 5 cm/hr
Maximum intensity of rainfall = 10 mm/hour
(from rainfall records in Sana’a)
Example 6 Size of a trench using sand, gravel, and boulders
Given data: Solution:
L= 1.5 m Maximum roof runoff = Maximum
Use D of flush pipe =1.25×100.84 mm= intensity of rainfall * roof area * 0.7
126.05 or 5 inches. Commercially, 5-inch = (10/1000) * 681* 0.7 = 4.77 m 3/hr
pies do not exist; therefore, use a 6-inch Area of filter tank required =
flush pipe (151.26mm) runoff/ infiltration rate
Required of sand area (A) = 4.77/ (5/100)
Required: = 95.4 m2
Flush flow volume (V) And L * B = A
Then L * B = 95.4 cm2
Solution: L X B = 2× 48 m2
First flush volume (V) = (π * D2 * L)/ 4 With a depth of 1.5 m
V= (3.14 *0.32 *1.5) / 4 = 0.0265 m3= 26.5 litres Take the dimensions of the trench to be:
2 * 48 * 1.5 m3
Use a container with a height of 1.5m and Table 6.3 Infiltration rates of soils
diameter of 6 inches Infiltration
No Sand types rate
6.6 Trench Design rate
Coarse sand,
Trenches are designed to receive the fine sand,
harvested flow for the purpose of recharging 1 loamy sand, 5 cm/hr High
the groundwater, as mentioned in chapter 4. coarse sandy
The following example gives the calculation loam
procedure to estimate the dimensions of a

Sandy loam, Precautions
1.5 - 5 cm/ 1. Always keep the surroundings of the
2 fine sandy Intermediate
hr tank clean & hygienic.
loam, loam
2. Remove algae from the roof and
Silt, loam,
asbestos sheets before monsoon rains.
sandy clay
< 1.5 3. Drain the tank completely and clean the
3 loam, salty Low
cm/hr inside thoroughly before monsoon rains.
clay, sandy
4. Clean the water channel during
clay, clay
the rainy season and before the first
monsoon rains.
5. Use suitably size containers for first
6.7 Planning and Management
flush water and use it properly.
6. Change filters media every rainy season.
Domestic rainwater harvesting needs to be
7. Cover all inlet and outlet pipes with closely
seen as only part of a system to meet the
knit nylon nets or cap during dry season.
overall water requirements of a household
8. Remove vegetation overhanging the roof.
or community. Project planning must
9. Roof catchment surfaces must be made
take a people-centred approach, taking
of nontoxic materials.
socio-economic, cultural, institutional,
10. Immediately repair cracks in Ferro cement
and gender issues into account, as well
storage tanks with cement plastering.
as people’s perceptions, preferences, and
11. Check all pipe joints periodically.
abilities. Factors for success in rainwater
12. Chlorinate tank if water is to be used
harvesting are:
for drinking and domestic use.
13. The implementing agency should visit
1. Project starts small and grows slowly
the structure as follow-up to monitor and
to allow for testing and modification of
motivate proper maintenance of the system.
design and implementation strategy
2. Demand for water is clearly expressed
Identification of locations for
3. Full involvement of all genders in all
rainwater harvesting
project stages
4. Substantial contributions from the
Using the above sample calculations, a
people (ideas, funds, and labour)
rainwater harvesting system can be applied
to any building with any roof surface size. As
In a number of countries, women’s groups
a first step, we recommend the application
have been very successful in financing and
of rainwater harvesting on the following
building their own rainwater harvesting tanks.
governmental buildings:
Management by individual households is most
1. Ministries:
successful, because the user (often a woman)
a. Ministry of Water and Environment
operates and controls the system, is responsible
b. General Rural Water Resources Authority.
for its maintenance, manages the use of water
c. Ministry of Oil.
(minimum misuse), and appreciates the
d.Central Organization for Control and Auditing.
convenience of water next to her home.

2. Educational buildings: decreases. See table (7.1) for a range of
a . Water and Environment Center options and pricing.
b . Faculty of Agriculture
c. Faculty of Medicine 7.3 Collection Network Pipes
d . F aculty of Engineering
3 . Hospitals: Network collection pipes collect the
a . Althawra Hospital rainwater from the catchments and convey
b . Al-Kuwait Hospital it to the tank. Two types of network pipes
c. Higher Health Institute are available for individuals building their
own tanks: plastic (PVC) and polyethylene.

7 Cost estimates and benefits of Table 7.1 Storage tanks types and cost
rainwater harvesting estimation in Yemen
7.1 Introduction Type of Cost
No. storage (YR/ Comments
Developing a budget for a rainwater (m3)
tank m3)
harvesting system can be as simple as
adding up the prices for each component Can last for
10,000 1 to
and deciding what one can afford. For some, 1 Fiberglass decades
- 8,000 7.5
providing for all or part of their water needs without
with rainwater is an exercise in comparing the
costs of a range of options to determine what Risk of
is most affordable. This chapter provides cracks
guidance on budgeting for rainwater 2 Concrete
9266 – 50 to and leaks,
systems, with information on cost ranges for 7313 100 but these
standard components for both potable use are easily
and irrigation, as well as cost comparisons repaired
with other water supply systems. Risk of
7.2 Storage Tanks 3500 and leaks,
3 Masonry –
-2336 but these
The largest expense in rainwater harvesting are easily
systems is the storage tank. The cost of the repaired
tank is based upon the size and the material Risk of
the tank built with. Table 7.1 shows a range cracks
of potential tank materials and related Ferro- 2633 – 50 to and leaks,
costs per cubic meters of storage. Costs 4
cement 2156 100 but these
range from a low of about 1336 YR/m3 fro are easily
masonry tanks to up to 2900 YR/m3 for repaired
fiberglass as shown in table (7.1). As tank
sizes increase, unit costs per m3 of storage PVC and polyethylene pipes are approximately

Table 7.2 Pipes options and estimated costs estimation in Yemen

Pipe type Cost (YR/m) Pipe diameter (mm) Comments

Leaking, warping, and breaking
50 mm – 100 mm
Plastic PVC* 650 – 1,000 are common problems; used to
(2 inch – 4 inch)
divert flows to tanks
Mixture of aluminum and
Galvanized 75 mm – 100 mm galvanized steel; must be
3,000 – 4,000
steel ** (3 inch – 4 inch) professionally installed; used to
supply from tanks
Mixture of aluminum and
Galvanized 25 mm galvanized steel; must be
steel ** (1 inch) professionally installed; used to
supply from tanks

* Drainage pipe from roof to tank ** Water supply from tank to consumption place

the same price. Galvanized steel pipes are has resulted in the expansion of roads,
more expensive and can be professionally parking infrastructure. The development
installed. For professionally installed materials, process results in compacted soil and
costs range from 155 to 574 YR/m for PVC topsoil removal. Paved and compacted
pipes and polyethylene and 2500-3500 YR/m surfaces do not allow stormwater runoff to
for galvanized steel. See Table 7.2 for pipe infiltrate and reach the groundwater table.
options and pricing. Harvested rainwater in urban areas can be
used to recharge groundwater through
7.4 Pump cost injection wells or infiltration trenches,
which would be particularly beneficial in
Demand-activated pumps range in price coastal urban areas where there is potential
from 10,000YR to 25,000YR for two to for saltwater intrusion into fresh aquifers.
six story buildings. These pumps often
provide sufficient water for a household’s 7.5.1 Benefits of groundwater recharge
demand for instantaneous flow, although
it is important to consider the possibility The following are some of the benefits of
of multiple, simultaneous demands on the recharging groundwater with rainwater—
pump when determining pump size. an ideal and complementary solution to
water problems in areas with inadequate
7.5 Artificial Groundwater Recharge water resources.
: Benefits & Cost 1. The groundwater level will rise.
2. Effects of drought will be mitigated and
Groundwater recharge is a promising new drought-proofing will be achieved.
application of rainwater harvesting systems. 3. Runoff will be reduced, preventing
Continuous urban and suburban growth stormwater drain blockages.

4. Flooding of roads will be reduced. costs. Therefore, Tables (7.3), (7.4), and (7.5)
5. Water quality will improve. list cost estimates for recharge pits, recharge
6. Soil erosion will be reduced. trenches, and recharge shafts. Prices may
7.Energy savings will result—a 1m rise in water vary according to place and time.
level saves about 0.40 KW/hr of electricity.
7.5.3 Artificial groundwater recharge in Yemen
7.5.2 Cost of groundwater recharge systems
In Sana’a, Yemen, the groundwater table
The cost of each recharge structure varies is very deep. The only suitable recharge
from place to place. In Yemen, there is no structures are recharge pits, trenches with
available data for groundwater recharge deep wells, and deep wells. We recommend

Table (7.3) Estimated cost for a recharge pit in Yemen

No Description of items Unit Quantity Unit Rates (YR) Total Cost (YR)
A Recharge pit: (1.5*2*3)
1 Earthwork (1.5*2*3) m3 9 1500 13500
2 Backfill with pebbles (1.5*2*0.5) m3 1.5 2500 3750
3 Backfill with gravel (1.5*2*0.5) m 3
1.5 3000 4500
4 Backfill with coarse sand (1.5*2*0.5) m3 1.5 2500 3750
5 Nylon net between gravel and sand m 2
3 1000 3000
Wire net to stabilize the sides (if
6 m2 12 1500 18000
Total cost (YR) 46500
Total cost (US $) 186 USD
# Unit rates of US$ 1 US $=250 YR

Table (7.4) Estimated cost for recharge trench in Yemen

No Description of items Unit Quantity Unit Rates (YR) Total Cost (YR)
B Recharge Trench t : (10m*2m*3m)
1 Earthwork (10m*2m*3m) m3 60 1500 90000
2 Backfill with pebbles (10m*2m*1m) m3 20 2500 50000
3 Backfill with gravel (10m*2m*1m) m3
20 3000 60000
4 Backfill with coarse sand (10m*2m*1m) m3 20 2500 50000
5 Nylon net between gravel and sand m2
20 1000 20000
6 Wire net to stabilize the sides (if needed) m2 96 1500 144000
Total cost (YR) 414000
Total cost (US $) 1656 USD

Table (7.5) Estimated cost for recharge shaft in Yemen

No Description of items Unit Quantity Unit Rates (YR) Total Cost (YR)
Recharge Shaft (4 m diameter & 3.3
C m depth + 1.5 m depth for filter with
width ((3.5+2)/2 =2.25 m)
1 Earthwork ((3.14*4*4/4)m2 *3.3m ) m3 41.5 1500 62250
Filter earthwork ((3.14*2.25*2.25/4)*1.5)m2 m3 6 2000 12000
Backfill with pebbles
2 m3 2 2500 5000
Backfill with gravel
3 m3 2 3000 6000
Backfill with coarse sand
4 m3 2 2500 5000
5 Nylon net between gravel and sand m2 4 1000 4000
6 Wire net to stabilize the sides (if needed) m 2
41 1500 61500
Brickwork around pit (0.5 deep and 0.25
7 m3 6 6000 36000
over ground)
8 Earthworks for (7) m3 3.14 1500 4710
Total cost (YR) 196460
Total cost (US $) 785.84 USD

siting recharge structures close to storage of rainwater that can replace groundwater
tanks to collect tank overflow and first flush use in three cities: Sana’a, Ibb, and Taiz.
flow. In areas where there is insufficient
space for the storage tank and recharge (1) Sana’a:
structure to be built close to houses, they Annual harvesting and use of rainwater
can be designed to receive water from in Sana’a will reduce pressure on deep
multiple houses and be located in a nearby groundwater aquifers. Table (7.6) shows
open area or field. that 10,508,797 m3 of groundwater in
urban areas and 170,813 m3 in rural areas
7.5.4 Estimated benefits of harvested may be saved by shifting consumption to
water in three Yemeni cities water harvesting. This amounts to 20%
savings for urban areas and 33% savings for
Rainwater harvesting reduces stress on rural areas. The total savings from rainwater
groundwater use, and strategies and harvesting is about 10,428,498,200 YR or
policies should focus on minimizing the US$ 41,713,993 per year.
use of fissile groundwater. Rainwater
harvesting has a range of uses, and the (2) Taiz:
following sections estimate the amounts Annual harvesting and use of rainwater

Figure (7.1) Recharge pit dimensions

Table (7.6) Water harvesting and consumption estimation for Sana’a
Description Unit Quantity Remarks
No. of urban houses No. 310177
No. of rural houses No. 5882
Total no. of houses No. 316059
Roof area m2 200
Average rainfall mm 242
Urban runoff coefficient C 0.7
Rural runoff coefficient C 0.6
Quantity of harvested water in urban areas m3 10,508,797
Quantity of harvested water in rural areas m3 170,813
Total water harvested (urban + rural) m3 10,679,610
Estimated consumption in urban areas per capita l/capita/day 70
Estimated consumption in rural areas per capita l/ capita /day 30
Estimated consumption in urban areas from groundwater m /year
Estimated consumption in rural areas from groundwater m3/year 521,450
Estimated consumption in all areas from groundwater m /year
Groundwater savings in urban areas % 20
Groundwater savings in rural areas % 33
Total groundwater savings in (urban + rural) areas % 20
The water value YR/m3 1000
The benefit cost YR/year 10,428,498,200
The benefit cost US$/year 41,713,993

in Taiz will reduce pressure on deep aquifers. Table (7.8) shows that 4,237,331m3
groundwater aquifers. Table (7.7) shows of groundwater in urban areas and
that 7,680,490 m3 of groundwater in urban 17,370,216m3 in rural areas may be saved by
areas and 22,597,047 m3 in rural areas may shifting consumption to water harvesting.
be saved by shifting consumption to water This amounts to 46% savings for urban areas
harvesting. This amounts to 70% savings and 81% savings for rural areas. The total
for urban areas and 100% savings for rural savings from rainwater harvesting is about
areas. The total savings from rainwater 16,899,785,808 YR or US$ 67,599,143 per year.
harvesting is about 23,814,909,300 YR or
US$ 95,259,637 per year. In summary
As rainfall intensity increases, the volume
(3) Ibb: of harvested rainwater increases. Thus, it is
Annual harvesting and use of rainwater in Ibb economical to use rainwater harvesting in the
will reduce pressure on deep groundwater three cities outlined above, with particular

Table 7.7 Water harvesting and consumption estimation for Taiz

Description Unit Quantity Remarks

No. of urban houses No. 98848
No. of rural houses No. 339295
Total no. of houses No. 438295
Roof area m2 200
Average rainfall mm 555
Urban runoff coefficient C 0.7
Rural runoff Coefficient C 0.6
Quantity of harvested water in urban areas m 3
Quantity of harvested water in rural areas m3 22,597,047
Total water harvested (urban + rural) m3 30,277,537
Estimated consumption in urban areas per capita l/capita/day 50
Estimated consumption in rural areas per capita l/ capita /day 30
Estimated consumption in urban areas from groundwater m3/year 10,907,897
Estimated consumption in rural areas from groundwater m3/year 22,680,866
Estimated consumption in total areas from groundwater m3/year 33,588,763
Groundwater saving in urban areas % 70%
Groundwater saving in rural areas % 100%
Total groundwater savings in (urban + rural) areas % 70%
The water value per m3 YR/m3 1500
The benefit cost YR/year 23,814,909,300
The benefit cost US$/year 95,259,637

emphasis on Taiz and Ibb. Regulations and use, cities will reduce energy demands
policies should support the adoption and associated with pumping water from
use of rainwater harvesting systems. the water treatment plant to the
service area. The number of newly built
Water harvesting systems will achieve the polluting power plants will also decrease
following results: as a result of collecting rainwater.
• Cost savings: Cities will avoid the • Water savings: Cities will reduce
increasing economic and environmental the demands on scarce surface and
costs of purchasing water from centralized groundwater sources and will reuse
water systems. Operating costs are lower water instead of pulling from the
than the cost of purchasing water from water table (or a freshwater source).
the centralized water system. Centralized water systems and wells
• Energy savings: By reducing water pull from the water table.

Table (7.8) Water harvesting and consumption estimation for Taiz

Descriptions Unit Quantity Remarks

No. of urban houses No. 60497
No. of rural houses No. 289330
Total no. of houses No. 349826
Roof area m 2
Average rainfall mm 500.3
Urban runoff coefficient C 0.7
Rural runoff coefficient C 0.6
Quantity of harvested water in urban areas m3 4,237,331
Quantity of harvested water in rural areas m3 17,370,216
Total water harvested (urban + rural) m3 21,607,547
Estimated consumption in urban areas per capita l/capita/day 60
Estimated consumption in rural areas per capita l/ capita /day 30
Estimated consumption in urban areas from groundwater m3/year 9163836
Estimated consumption in rural areas from groundwater m3/year 21451718
Estimated consumption in all areas from groundwater m3/year 30615554
Groundwater saving in urban areas % 46
Groundwater saving in rural areas % 81
Total groundwater savings (urban + rural) % 46
The water value per m3 (YR) YR/m3 1200
The benefit cost YR/year 16,899,785,808
The benefit cost US$/year 67,599,143

• Reduced erosion and stormwater effects of rainwater harvesting are multiple

run-off and increased water quality: in terms of health, poverty reduction,
Capturing rooftop rainwater reduces flash education, and equity. These systems:
floods and household stormwater run • Reduce burdens on the poor, who spend
off. Less stormwater runoff may reduce less time collecting water (particularly
the stormwater collection fee for the women and children);
household and will improve the health, • Reduce water-related diseases, as water
quality, and biodiversity of our watersheds. quality is usually better than water from
traditional sources; impact is fewer sick
7.5.5 Potential effects and impacts days, savings on medical expenses, and
time for more economic activities;
With a livelihoods strategy, rainwater is both • Improve health status, as excess
a key domestic and productive resource. The rainwater used for vegetable and crop

growing results in improved diets; in Yemen’s mountainous areas. (See picture
• Lessen back problems and growth (8.1)) These covered underground tanks,
reduction particularly among children constructed from masonry or concrete, are
and women, as transportation of heavy used to collect and store surface runoff.
loads over long distances is reduced;
• Improve economic and health status
from the income from vegetables
and other crops and other economic
activities using excess rainwater;
• Create more time for education and
personal development, particularly for
young girls, as time saved is now used
for school attendance or homework;
• Recharge groundwater, increasing water levels
• Lessen dependence on groundwater,
leading to reduced pressure on the
groundwater resource. Picture (8.1): Typical traditional rainwater
harvesting cistern from roofs

8 Indigenous knowledge of rainwater Similar systems are common in the rural

harvesting techniques for rural areas of Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, India, Sri
domestic water supply in Yemen Lanka, Thailand, and Indonesia. This waster
is used for drinking and other domestic uses.
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Cisterns and ponds
Yemen is one of the oldest civilizations in 8.2.1 Typology of the cisterns
the Middle East. Thousands of years ago, the
people of Yemen established spectacular Cisterns are classified according to function,
mountain terrace systems on the steep form, size, and ownership. We classify cisterns
slopes of Yemen’s rugged mountains to according to use and ownership, as well as
conserve soil and optimize rainfall water some outlier cases. The following typology
use. For centuries, Yemeni farmers have used presents the typical cistern types with
rainwater for largescale agriculture and have photos. Note that many cisterns have more
efficiently used, controlled, and regulated complex uses than those described below.
the rights of flood and spring water.
Water rights are well-known among the (1) Spring cisterns
population, as written agreements between
landowners have been handed down Across Yemen’s landscape are oases of fertile
through the generations to the present day. forest growth, often close to stream. These
fertile patches have been used for spring
Karif or majel are local names for cisterns irrigation schemes for centuries. Structures

for these systems include the spring located in private settings and the water is
(ghayl), a cistern (majil), and a distribution plentiful and clean, people come to wash
network of canals. Cisterns are not related themselves. Springs are usually located far
to rainwater harvesting. They are located below settlements and water consumption
close to a spring that slowly fills the cistern is limited to drinking due to the constraints
at an interval between hours and days. of carrying the water (Hovden, 2006).
Cisterns have a small hole at the bottom,
through the outer wall (as outlet), where a Given the long history of the use of local
piece of plastic or a flat rock and mud are springs, the water available is typically
sealed in place like a cork. The cistern needs complemented with land. Land and water
to be built with one freestanding wall so access enables the cultivation of culturally-
that the hole is accessible from the outside, relevant crops. In Hajja, the local crop
and it must be placed above ground level is coffee, where larger trees shade the
so that water can drain out by gravity. coffee trees. These areas often see many
owners with sharecropping arrangements,
When the cistern is full, a pole is led including mortmain property (waqf
through the hole from the outside and the : donationses for the good of the
blockage is poked open. It typically takes community), which makes innovation
30 minutes to empty the cistern. All of the difficult; the owners rarely meet and the
water is emptied in one pulsation, making tenants often perceive change as a threat
it possible to convey the water through to their jobs.
numerous canals, cross-points, and
shareholder terraces onto their respective
pieces of land without considerable water
loss. If the cistern system were to be
bypassed, with the spring being fed directly
to the fields, the water would be lost in the
unlined earthen canals.

Picture (8.2) shows the two biggest spring

cisterns at al-Maoayn, just below the city of
Hajja to the north. Note that the plastic hose
siphoning water out of the cistern leads the
water to an adjacent quat field. It is said
that the local Imam would frequent the
space for picnics, and people still consider
it a beautiful spot for outings. Above the
picture and to the right is the spring itself,
located where people are entitled to Picture (8.2): Spring cisterns near the city of Hajja [19]
fetch domestic water and where women
come to wash clothes. Where cisterns are

Land tenancy over a prolonged time often (Qadad: plaster mix of gravel, sand, and
leads to the right to rend the land in the future. burne lime bouders). Water harvested here
A fixed sharecropping price is common; e.g., can be sold to tankers for about 1 USD/m3.
it is common for tenants to have the right to Officially, they are public property (waqf )
one-third of the coffee harvest. that was donated to the state.

(2) Cistern without (Qadad) plaster: (4) Mosque cisterns

(Qadad: plaster mix of gravel, sand, and lime) Picture (8.5a) depicts the mosque cistern at
Cisterns without qadads plaster is differ Jabal Said in the province of Hajjah. As there
from other types of cistern. So, they do is no piped water here, the cistern is still
not use plaster to make them waterproof. used in a traditional way. The two tunnels
The walls of these cisterns are constructed leading to the water surface are used when
of crude masonry, and the outer wall is descending the stairs to perform ablutions
partly freestanding and double, filled with in a private setting at varying water levels.
soil. Picture (8.3) depicts a 7m to 8m deep
cistern that is somewhat wider across. Note
the complete absence of plastering. The
inlet canal stems from the middle-bottom
of the picture and leads to the left of the
man in white. The canal has a step down,
seen at the edge of the picture.

Picture (8.4a) Typical village cistern with Qadad plastring

Picture (8.3) Traditional cisterns without Qadad [19]

(3) Cisterns with (Qadad) plaster:

(Qadad: plaster mix of gravel, sand, and

burne lime bouders) Picture (8.4b) Typical cistern with Qadad
Pictures (8.4a and 8.4b) depict the cisterns plastering in Kokaban city - Yemen
that individuals use today with plaster

Every village has a small mosque, usually square, (6) The traditional village cisterns
without a dome, and painted white. Mosques
have cisterns for the ritual pre-prayer cleansing, There are four types of village cisterns:
ablution. Since the water is not consumed, only
a small catchment area is needed and usually Public cisterns located near villages
consists of the roof of the mosque and the for households use. These are used for
courtyard. If the mosque is medium or large, drinking, domestic water, animals, or a
one or more tunnel structure is used to enable combination of these. These cisterns are
indoor ablutions for the sake of privacy. The small (10-40 per village) and large (one
water is green, has a smell, and is obviously major cistern for a whole village in addition
unfit for consumption. Believers would rather to small, supplementary cisterns).
use water of a quality generally associated with
public waterworks. Mosque cisterns are usually
more elaborate and have more qadad details
(see chapter 2.5). The cistern for the central
mosque in Hajja is quite large and is often full of
children swimming and women holding ropes
leading out to the youngest ones as a safety
measure. The water is never changed.

The rian water system for Jiblah Incient Picture (8.5a) Roof rainwater harvesting from a
mosque during it pond (Berkah) miantanance Mosque in Hajjah, Yemen ([19]
is shown in picture (8.5b). The rianwater is
harvested from Mousque roof by vertical Picture (8.5b) Roof rainwater harvesting from a
shut channel to the area beside the bulding Mosque roof to mousque pond in Jiblah, Yemen
and directed to a mousque Berkan. (poho: sharaf 2011)

Public cisterns located far from villages

for grazing animals. Villages or tribes
typically own the cisterns, but they may
also be sued by clients—herders or pastoral
tribes—who have relationships with the
village through traditional usufruct rights.

Old public roadside cisterns used for

road travelers. These cisterns are often
owned as waqf (donates for the good of the
community). (See chapter 3) Both travelers
and locals can use these cisterns, although
Picture (8.5a) Roof rainwater harvesting these are typically the least well maintained.
from a Mosque in Hajjah, Yemen ([19]

Private cisterns are relatively new. They
are often old public cisterns purchased by Roofwater harvesting family cisterns are
individuals. They are often located far from also common. The walls of houses project
villages, as the closer locations are rarely up through the roofs to divide them into
for sale. Typically used for domestic and sections, which drain through gutters on
drinking water, they have relatively clean each side of the house. New roofs also have
catchments. New private cisterns tend to cement covers to produce as much clean
be large. They provide water for domestic runoff as sand. (See pictures (8.8) and (8.9))
use and are often located near villages.
Others are located near roads, where new
systems capturing road runoff supply their
water. (See picture (8.6))

Picture (8.8) Traditional rainwater harvesting cistern

at a house in the mountainous area in Yemen

8.2.2 Traditional cement and plastering

for cisterns (Qadad)

Picture (8.6) Traditional village cistern Qadad is a form of plastering (as a mix of
fine gravel, course and burn lime bouders
(7) Traditional village cisterns covered (nurah which is like jubsum)) uses with
with a rock dome and owned by families many traditional construction in Yemen.

Picture (8.7) presents an old qadad-treated

structure covering a cistern. The covering
structure is made with cantilevering
masonry with qadad between the stones.
The inside is a dome, but stones are placed
horizontally progressively farther apart for
each round. This technique was common in
Hajja’s saqif” or “sabil—roadside structures
for travelers and herders.
Picture (8.9) Roof rain water harvesting at a
house in the village in Yemen [20]

It was used to seal cisterns, roofs, and masonry

gaps in walls, to provide decorative details
Picture (8.7) Traditional family cistern covered
on walls, and for any other waterproofing
by Qadad roof [19]

application. Today, it is generally only used In other areas of Yemen, volcanic cinder is
by experts for restoration of historical the most common aggregate and course
buildings or by individuals restoring their sand to be mixed with nura (Al-Radi, 1994;
houses in traditional ways. Most qadad al-Hadrami, personal communication).
experts today are the descendants of Cinders or ash deposits are very light, air-
men from villages around Yarim city or in filled, and almost foam-like pieces of rock
Hadramoat area with traditional knowledge [27]. However, there is no evidence of the
who were commissioned in the 1980s use of this kind of qadad in the cisterns in
and 1990s to restore the Grand Mosque Hajjah region, perhaps due to the lack of
in Sana’a. Qadad knowledge today is held volcanic cinders in the area. If cinders were
by a number of teams who are often hired available, it is likely that they would be
by government, sometimes funded by used to avoid the effort of crushing hard
foreign governments for specific restoration stone.. The material is easy to break down
projects, or by wealthy Yemenis concerned into finer sand, and it is light and durable,
about building conservation, which presumably because it is non-reactive. The
has served to preserve this traditional volcanic gravel is also beaten into the nura.
knowledge. Qadad knowledge is a good
example of local knowledge that is not Picture (8.10) depicts the construction of
geographically tied, but rather exists in a a new roof in the traditional way in Sana’a.
guild with strong family ties (Al-Radi, 1994; It shows the process of making qadad and
al-Hadrami, personal communication). beating the first layer into the surface of
the gravel, carried out systematically with
Local informants could not report in detail a semi-sharp edge. The right-hand corner
on the process of mixing local plaster (as of the picture shows an area that has been
burn lime (nurah)), with aggregate to make beaten enough to become smooth. The layer
qadad. Coarse sand mixed by fine gravel is approximately 5cm thick (Hovden, 2006).
carried up from a wadi bed is clean, of good
quality, and free of grains and dust. Large,
coarse grains of this sand with fine natural
gravel are collected and used to make qadad.
In Hajjah area the sand collection can often
be seen taking place where the main road
crosses wadi Shiris stream channel. Next, two
types of hard rock, red and white, are broken
down to 0.5cm to 1cm pieces. The sand
and rock are mixed together. Informants in
the qadad group report that the first layers
of qadad applied are of a ration 1/3 nura
and 2/3 aggregate. Subsequent layers may
contain more nura and less aggregate.

Picture (8.10) Beating the first layer of qadad into the gravel [19]

Annexes & Appendix

Please visit:


Appendix I
Monthly rainfall over 10 years, Sana’a City (1993-2003)

Table 1 Sana’a City Average Rainfall (source NWRA, HQ)

Governor- Organi- Station Par Months
Year Annual
ate zation Name ID 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 1990 0 2.5 40.5 19 3.5 0 31.5 2 25 0 0 0 124

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 1991 0 5.5 45 11 11.5 0 2.5 35 0.5 0 0 0.5 111.5

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 1992 2.5 0.5 20 20 64.5 3 10 140 24.5 26 0 39.5 350

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 1993 2.5 9 13.5 83 79.5 6 3 25 30.5 1 45 19 316.5

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 1997 5.5 1.5 14.5 29.5 7.5 2 12.5 33.5 0 60.5 34 1 201.5

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 1998 0 0.5 8 19 68.5 0 63 176 0 0 6.5   341

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 2000   0.5 8 30 57.5   9 58.5 2.5 16 2.5 146 330

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 2001 29 108 31 13 1 0 49 21.5 21 22.5 7 1 303

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 2002 0 0.5 8 1 1 0 49 21.5 21 22.5 0 0 124.5

Sana’a City NWRA NWRA-A RAN 2003 0 0 10.5 52.5 12.5 0.5 0 0 0 3 2 146 227

4.33 12.80 19.90 27.80 30.70 1.28 22.95 51.20 12.50 15.15 9.60 39.17 242.90

Table 2 Shu’ub Area Average Rainfall (source NWRA, HQ)


1976 0 7.8 53.3 22.8 35 0.3 33 26.3 2 0 29.3 0.3 210.1

1977 6.8 0 31.1 8.7 92.2 3 0.8 139.7 0 116.1 2.3 3.5 404.2

1978 8.3 6.7 8.6 50.3 14.8 0.8 110.7 18.9 0 0 14.2 3.5 236.8

1979 8.2 0 26.4 0.4 13.2 0 8.8 64.9     0 2.8 124.7

1980 0 89.7 22 21.2 0 0 18.6 22.5 0 7 0 0 181

1982     62.4 19.5 40.6 0 16 60.8 0 41 0 0 240.3

 Average 4.7 20.8 34.0 20.5 32.6 0.7 31.3 55.5 0.4 32.8 7.6 1.7 232.85
Table 3 Haddah Area Average Rainfall (source: NWRA, HQ)

1977 9.4 0 0 9.2 91.8 8.4 21.6 120.1 0.8 146.7 2.7 3.8 414.5

1978 9.9 10.1 17.9 23.4 7.8 13.8 136.8 17.3 0.1 0 7.3 6.3 250.7

1979 11.2 0 13.1 1.5 21.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 47.2

1983 30.9 11.2 119.1 88.5 2.9 0 8 113.9 0 0     374.5

1986 0 1.5 45.8 50.8 4 23 8.1 76.46 2.1 0 0 3.4 215.16

  12.3 4.6 39.2 34.7 25.6 9.0 34.9 65.6 0.6 29.3 2.5 3.4 260.412

Appendix II - Plan 1

Roof plans: Educational Hospital Building at Sana’a University

Appendix II - Plan 2

School Building Roof

Plan 3 - Traditional urban house in Sana’a

Appendix III
Harvested Water Volume Estimation

Table 1 with Run off Coefficient for Urban Areas C=0.70

100 150 200 243 250 300 450 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1500 2000
Roof top
Harvested Rooftop Water Volume (m3), RC=0.7
areas m2
20 1.4 2.1 2.8 3.4 3.5 4.2 6.3 7.0 8.4 9.8 11.2 12.6 14.0 21.0 28.0

30 2.1 3.2 4.2 5.1 5.3 6.3 9.5 10.5 12.6 14.7 16.8 18.9 21.0 31.5 42.0

40 2.8 4.2 5.6 6.8 7.0 8.4 12.6 14.0 16.8 19.6 22.4 25.2 28.0 42.0 56.0

50 3.5 5.3 7.0 8.5 8.8 10.5 15.8 17.5 21.0 24.5 28.0 31.5 35.0 52.5 70.0

60 4.2 6.3 8.4 10.2 10.5 12.6 18.9 21.0 25.2 29.4 33.6 37.8 42.0 63.0 84.0

70 4.9 7.4 9.8 11.9 12.3 14.7 22.1 24.5 29.4 34.3 39.2 44.1 49.0 73.5 98.0

80 5.6 8.4 11.2 13.6 14.0 16.8 25.2 28.0 33.6 39.2 44.8 50.4 56.0 84.0 112.0

90 6.3 9.5 12.6 15.3 15.8 18.9 28.4 31.5 37.8 44.1 50.4 56.7 63.0 94.5 126.0

100 70.0 105.0 140.0 170.1 175.0 210.0 315.0 350.0 420.0 490.0 560.0 630.0 700.0 1050.0 1400.0

150 10.5 10.5 14.0 17.0 17.5 21.0 31.5 35.0 42.0 49.0 56.0 63.0 70.0 105.0 140.0

200 14.0 21.0 28.0 34.0 35.0 42.0 63.0 70.0 84.0 98.0 112.0 126.0 140.0 210.0 280.0

250 17.5 26.3 35.0 42.5 43.8 52.5 78.8 87.5 105.0 122.5 140.0 157.5 175.0 262.5 350.0

300 21.0 31.5 42.0 51.0 52.5 63.0 94.5 105.0 126.0 147.0 168.0 189.0 210.0 315.0 420.0

350 24.5 36.8 49.0 59.5 61.3 73.5 110.3 122.5 147.0 171.5 196.0 220.5 245.0 367.5 490.0

400 28.0 42.0 56.0 68.0 70.0 84.0 126.0 140.0 168.0 196.0 224.0 252.0 280.0 420.0 560.0

450 31.5 47.3 63.0 76.5 78.8 94.5 141.8 157.5 189.0 220.5 252.0 283.5 315.0 472.5 630.0

500 35.0 52.5 70.0 85.1 87.5 105.0 157.5 175.0 210.0 245.0 280.0 315.0 350.0 525.0 700.0

600 42.0 63.0 84.0 102.1 105.0 126.0 189.0 210.0 252.0 294.0 336.0 378.0 420.0 630.0 840.0

700 49.0 73.5 98.0 119.1 122.5 147.0 220.5 245.0 294.0 343.0 392.0 441.0 490.0 735.0 980.0

800 56.0 84.0 112.0 136.1 140.0 168.0 252.0 280.0 336.0 392.0 448.0 504.0 560.0 840.0 1120.0

900 63.0 94.5 126.0 153.1 157.5 189.0 283.5 315.0 378.0 441.0 504.0 567.0 630.0 945.0 1260.0

1000 70.0 105.0 140.0 170.1 175.0 210.0 315.0 350.0 420.0 490.0 560.0 630.0 700.0 1050.0 1400.0

1500 105.0 157.5 210.0 255.2 262.5 315.0 472.5 525.0 630.0 735.0 840.0 945.0 1050.0 1575.0 2100.0

1560 109.2 163.8 218.4 265.4 273.0 327.6 491.4 546.0 655.2 764.4 873.6 982.8 1092.0 1638.0 2184.0

2000 140.0 210.0 280.0 340.2 350.0 420.0 630.0 700.0 840.0 980.0 1120.0 1260.0 1400.0 2100.0 2800.0

2500 175.0 262.5 350.0 425.3 437.5 525.0 787.5 875.0 1050.0 1225.0 1400.0 1575.0 1750.0 2625.0 3500.0

3000 210.0 315.0 420.0 510.3 525.0 630.0 945.0 1050.0 1260.0 1470.0 1680.0 1890.0 2100.0 3150.0 4200.0

3500 245.0 367.5 490.0 595.4 612.5 735.0 1102.5 1225.0 1470.0 1715.0 1960.0 2205.0 2450.0 3675.0 4900.0

4000 280.0 420.0 560.0 680.4 700.0 840.0 1260.0 1400.0 1680.0 1960.0 2240.0 2520.0 2800.0 4200.0 5600.0

4500 315.0 472.5 630.0 765.5 787.5 945.0 1417.5 1575.0 1890.0 2205.0 2520.0 2835.0 3150.0 4725.0 6300.0

5000 350.0 525.0 700.0 850.5 875.0 1050.0 1575.0 1750.0 2100.0 2450.0 2800.0 3150.0 3500.0 5250.0 7000.0

Table 2 with Runoff Coefficient for Urban Areas (C= 0.75)

Rainfall (mm) 100 150 200 243 250 300 450 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1500 2000
Roof top areas m2 Harvested Rainwater Volume (m3), RC 0.75
20 1.5 2.3 3.0 3.6 3.8 4.5 6.8 7.5 9.0 10.5 12.0 13.5 15.0 22.5 30.0

30 2.3 3.4 4.5 5.5 5.6 6.8 10.1 11.3 13.5 15.8 18.0 20.3 22.5 33.8 45.0

40 3.0 4.5 6.0 7.3 7.5 9.0 13.5 15.0 18.0 21.0 24.0 27.0 30.0 45.0 60.0

50 3.8 5.6 7.5 9.1 9.4 11.3 16.9 18.8 22.5 26.3 30.0 33.8 37.5 56.3 75.0

60 4.5 6.8 9.0 10.9 11.3 13.5 20.3 22.5 27.0 31.5 36.0 40.5 45.0 67.5 90.0

70 5.3 7.9 10.5 12.8 13.1 15.8 23.6 26.3 31.5 36.8 42.0 47.3 52.5 78.8 105.0

80 6.0 9.0 12.0 14.6 15.0 18.0 27.0 30.0 36.0 42.0 48.0 54.0 60.0 90.0 120.0

90 6.8 10.1 13.5 16.4 16.9 20.3 30.4 33.8 40.5 47.3 54.0 60.8 67.5 101.3 135.0

100 7.5 11.3 15.0 18.2 18.8 22.5 33.8 37.5 45.0 52.5 60.0 67.5 75.0 112.5 150.0

150 11.3 16.9 22.5 27.3 28.1 33.8 50.6 56.3 67.5 78.8 90.0 101.3 112.5 168.8 225.0

200 15.0 22.5 30.0 36.5 37.5 45.0 67.5 75.0 90.0 105.0 120.0 135.0 150.0 225.0 300.0

250 18.8 28.1 37.5 45.6 46.9 56.3 84.4 93.8 112.5 131.3 150.0 168.8 187.5 281.3 375.0

300 22.5 33.8 45.0 54.7 56.3 67.5 101.3 112.5 135.0 157.5 180.0 202.5 225.0 337.5 450.0

350 26.3 39.4 52.5 63.8 65.6 78.8 118.1 131.3 157.5 183.8 210.0 236.3 262.5 393.8 525.0

400 30.0 45.0 60.0 72.9 75.0 90.0 135.0 150.0 180.0 210.0 240.0 270.0 300.0 450.0 600.0

450 33.8 50.6 67.5 82.0 84.4 101.3 151.9 168.8 202.5 236.3 270.0 303.8 337.5 506.3 675.0

500 37.5 56.3 75.0 91.1 93.8 112.5 168.8 187.5 225.0 262.5 300.0 337.5 375.0 562.5 750.0

600 45.0 67.5 90.0 109.4 112.5 135.0 202.5 225.0 270.0 315.0 360.0 405.0 450.0 675.0 900.0

700 52.5 78.8 105.0 127.6 131.3 157.5 236.3 262.5 315.0 367.5 420.0 472.5 525.0 787.5 1050.0

800 60.0 84.0 112.0 136.1 140.0 168.0 252.0 280.0 336.0 392.0 448.0 504.0 560.0 840.0 1120.0

900 67.5 101.3 135.0 164.0 168.8 202.5 303.8 337.5 405.0 472.5 540.0 607.5 675.0 1012.5 1350.0

1000 75.0 112.5 150.0 182.3 187.5 225.0 337.5 375.0 450.0 525.0 600.0 675.0 750.0 1125.0 1500.0

1500 112.5 168.8 225.0 273.4 281.3 337.5 506.3 562.5 675.0 787.5 900.0 1012.5 1125.0 1687.5 2250.0

1560 117.0 175.5 234.0 284.3 292.5 351.0 526.5 585.0 702.0 819.0 936.0 1053.0 1170.0 1755.0 2340.0

2000 150.0 225.0 300.0 364.5 375.0 450.0 675.0 750.0 900.0 1050.0 1200.0 1350.0 1500.0 2250.0 3000.0

2500 187.5 281.3 375.0 455.6 468.8 562.5 843.8 937.5 1125.0 1312.5 1500.0 1687.5 1875.0 2812.5 3750.0

3000 225.0 337.5 450.0 546.8 562.5 675.0 1012.5 1125.0 1350.0 1575.0 1800.0 2025.0 2250.0 3375.0 4500.0

3500 262.5 393.8 525.0 637.9 656.3 787.5 1181.3 1312.5 1575.0 1837.5 2100.0 2362.5 2625.0 3937.5 5250.0

4000 300.0 450.0 600.0 729.0 750.0 900.0 1350.0 1500.0 1800.0 2100.0 2400.0 2700.0 3000.0 4500.0 6000.0

4500 337.5 506.3 675.0 820.1 843.8 1012.5 1518.8 1687.5 2025.0 2362.5 2700.0 3037.5 3375.0 5062.5 6750.0

5000 375.0 562.5 750.0 911.3 937.5 1125.0 1687.5 1875.0 2250.0 2625.0 3000.0 3375.0 3750.0 5625.0 7500.0

Table 3 with Runoff Coefficient for Rural Areas (C= 0.6)

Rainfall (mm) 100 150 200 250 300 450 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1500 2000

Roof top areas

Harvested Rooftop Water Volume (m3), RC= 0.6

20 1.2 1.8 2.4 3 3.6 5.4 6 7.2 8.4 9.6 10.8 12 18 24

30 1.8 2.7 3.6 4.5 5.4 8.1 9 10.8 12.6 14.4 16.2 18 27 36

40 2.4 3.6 4.8 6 7.2 10.8 12 14.4 16.8 19.2 21.6 24 36 48

50 3 4.5 6 7.5 9 13.5 15 18 21 24 27 30 45 60

60 3.6 5.4 7.2 9 10.8 16.2 18 21.6 25.2 28.8 32.4 36 54 72

70 4.2 6.3 8.4 10.5 12.6 18.9 21 25.2 29.4 33.6 37.8 42 63 84

80 4.8 7.2 9.6 12 14.4 21.6 24 28.8 33.6 38.4 43.2 48 72 96

90 5.4 8.1 10.8 13.5 16.2 24.3 27 32.4 37.8 43.2 48.6 54 81 108

100 6 90 120 150 180 270 300 360 420 480 540 600 900 1200

150 9 9 12 15 18 27 30 36 42 48 54 60 90 120

200 12 18 24 30 36 54 60 72 84 96 108 120 180 240

250 15 22.5 30 37.5 45 67.5 75 90 105 120 135 150 225 300

300 18 27 36 45 54 81 90 108 126 144 162 180 270 360

350 21 31.5 42 52.5 63 94.5 105 126 147 168 189 210 315 420

400 24 36 48 60 72 108 120 144 168 192 216 240 360 480

450 27 40.5 54 67.5 81 121.5 135 162 189 216 243 270 405 540

500 30 45 60 75 90 135 150 180 210 240 270 300 450 600

600 36 54 72 90 108 162 180 216 252 288 324 360 540 720

700 42 63 84 105 126 189 210 252 294 336 378 420 630 840

800 48 72 96 120 144 216 240 288 336 384 432 480 720 960

900 54 81 108 135 162 243 270 324 378 432 486 540 810 1080

1000 60 90 120 150 180 270 300 360 420 480 540 600 900 1200

1500 90 135 180 225 270 405 450 540 630 720 810 900 1350 1800

2000 120 180 240 300 360 540 600 720 840 960 1080 1200 1800 2400

2500 150 225 300 375 450 675 750 900 1050 1200 1350 1500 2250 3000

3000 180 270 360 450 540 810 900 1080 1260 1440 1620 1800 2700 3600

3500 210 315 420 525 630 945 1050 1260 1470 1680 1890 2100 3150 4200

4000 240 360 480 600 720 1080 1200 1440 1680 1920 2160 2400 3600 4800

4500 270 405 540 675 810 1215 1350 1620 1890 2160 2430 2700 4050 5400

5000 300 450 600 750 900 1350 1500 1800 2100 2400 2700 3000 4500 6000

Appendix IV
Design tables to estimate Tank Capacity (Sana’a)

Table 1 Estimation of tank capacity for a university educational hospital building (1560 m2)
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Month Average Rainfall harvest- Cumulative rainfall Demand (based Cumulative de- Difference
Rainfall (mm) ed (m³) harvested (m³) on total use (m³/ mand (m³) between col-
for the years month) umns (4) and (6)
1993- 2003*

Jan 29 31.67 31.67 22.12 22.12 9.55

Feb 108 117.94 149.60 22.11 44.23 105.37

Mar 31 33.85 183.46 22.11 66.34 117.12

Apr 13 14.20 197.65 22.11 88.45 109.20

May 1 1.09 198.74 22.11 110.56 88.18

Jun 0 0.00 198.74 22.11 132.67 66.07

Jul 49 53.51 252.25 22.11 154.78 97.47

Aug 22 24.02 276.28 22.11 176.89 99.39

Sep 21 22.93 299.21 22.11 199.00 100.21

Oct 23 25.12 324.32 22.11 221.11 103.21

Nov 7 7.64 331.97 22.11 243.22 88.75

Dec 1 1.09 333.06 22.11 265.33 67.73

Totals   333.06   265.33    

Column (3):
Rainfall Harvested (m³) = (Average Rainfall (C2)*Roof Area*RC)/1000
Column (4):
Cumulative rainfall harvested (m³)
Column (5):
Demand = Calculated from the example above
Column (6):
Cumulative demand
Column (7):
Tank Size = max of [Column (4) – Column (6)+25]

Table 2 Estimation of tank capacity for a commercial building (5000 m2)
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Month Average Rainfall harvest- Cumulative rainfall Demand (based Cumulative de- Difference
Rainfall (mm) ed (m³) harvested (m³) on total use (m³/ mand (m³) between columns
for the years month) (4) and (6)
1993- 2003*

Jan 29 101.50 101.50 70.90 70.90 30.60

Feb 108 378.00 479.50 70.90 141.80 337.70

Mar 31 108.50 588.00 70.90 212.70 375.30

Apr 13 45.50 633.50 70.90 283.60 349.90

May 1 3.50 637.00 70.90 354.50 282.50

Jun 0 0.00 637.00 70.90 425.40 211.60

Jul 49 171.50 808.50 70.90 496.30 312.20

Aug 22 77.00 885.50 70.90 567.20 318.30

Sep 21 73.50 959.00 70.90 638.10 320.90

Oct 23 80.50 1039.50 70.90 709.00 330.50

Nov 7 24.50 1064.00 70.90 779.90 284.10

Dec 1 3.50 1067.50 70.90 850.80 216.70

Totals   1067.50   850.80    

Table 3 Estimation of tank capacity for a Public building (200 m2)

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Month Average Rainfall harvest- Cumulative rainfall Demand (based Cumulative Difference be-
Rainfall (mm) ed (m³) harvested (m³) on total use demand (m³) tween columns
for the years (m³/month) (4) and (6)
1993- 2003*

Jan 29 4.06 4.06 2.84 2.84 1.23

Feb 108 15.12 19.18 2.84 5.67 13.51

Mar 31 4.34 23.52 2.84 8.51 15.02

Apr 13 1.82 25.34 2.84 11.34 14.00

May 1 0.14 25.48 2.84 14.18 11.31
Jun 0 0.00 25.48 2.84 17.01 8.47
Jul 49 6.86 32.34 2.84 19.85 12.50
Aug 22 3.08 35.42 2.84 22.68 12.74
Sep 21 2.94 38.36 2.84 25.52 12.85
Oct 23 3.22 41.58 2.84 28.35 13.23
Nov 7 0.98 42.56 2.84 31.19 11.38
Dez 1 0.15 42.71 2.84 34.02 8.69
Totals   42.71   34.02    

Table 4 Estimation of tank capacity for a school building (681.5 m2)
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Month Average Rainfall har- Cumulative Demand Cumulative Difference

Rainfall vested (m³) rainfall har- (based on demand (m³) between
(mm) for vested (m³) total use (m³/ columns (4)
the years month) and (6)
1993- 2003*

Jan 29 13.83 13.83 9.71 9.71 4.12

Feb 108 51.52 65.36 9.71 19.42 45.93

Mar 31 14.79 80.14 9.71 29.14 51.01

Apr 13 6.20 86.35 9.71 38.85 47.50

May 1 0.48 86.82 9.71 48.56 38.26

Jun 0 0.00 86.82 9.71 58.27 28.55

Jul 49 23.38 110.20 9.71 67.98 42.21

Aug 22 10.50 120.69 9.71 77.70 43.00

Sep 21 10.02 130.71 9.71 87.41 43.30

Oct 23 10.97 141.68 9.71 97.12 44.56

Nov 7 3.34 145.02 9.71 106.83 38.19

Dec 1 0.48 145.50 29.14 135.97 9.53

Totals   145.50   135.97    

Appendix V
Design tables to estimate tank capacity (Taiz and Ibb)

Table 1 Estimation of tank capacity for a house roof (Taiz City)

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Month Average Rainfall har- Cumulative Demand (based Cumulative Difference

Rainfall vested (m³) rainfall harvest- on total use (m³/ demand (m³) between
(mm) ed (m³) month) columns (4)
and (6)

Mar 42 5.88 5.88 6.50 6.50 0.00

Apr 96.1 13.45 19.33 6.50 13.00 6.33

May 66.3 9.28 28.62 6.50 19.50 9.12

Jun 24.4 3.42 32.03 6.50 26.00 6.03

Jul 77.7 10.88 42.91 6.50 32.50 10.41

Aug 216 30.24 73.15 6.50 39.00 34.15

Sep 63.4 8.88 82.03 6.50 45.50 36.53

Oct 20.8 2.91 84.94 6.50 52.00 32.94

Nov 0 0.00 84.94 6.50 58.50 26.44

Dec 9.6 1.34 86.28 6.50 65.00 21.28

Jan 63.4 8.88 95.16 6.50 71.50 23.66

Feb 11 1.54 96.95 6.50 84.50 12.45

Totals 789.45 95.41   84.50    

Table 2 Estimation of tank capacity for a house roof (Ibb City)

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Month Average Rainfall (mm) Rainfall harvest- Cumulative Demand Cumulative Difference
ed (m³) rainfall harvest- (based on demand (m³) between
ed (m³) total use (m³/ columns (4)
month) and (6)

Apr 20.5 2.87 2.87 5.80 5.80 -2.93

May 113 15.82 18.69 5.80 11.60 7.09
Jun 37.5 5.25 23.94 5.80 17.40 6.54
Jul 103.3 14.46 38.40 5.80 23.20 15.20
Aug 77.8 10.89 49.29 5.80 29.00 25.29
Sep 28.5 3.99 53.28 5.80 34.80 23.48
Oct 43.3 6.06 59.35 5.80 40.60 23.75
Nov 67.3 9.42 68.77 5.80 46.40 22.37
Dec 0.3 0.04 68.81 5.80 52.20 16.61
Jan 5 0.70 69.51 5.80 58.00 11.51
Feb 0 0.00 69.51 5.80 63.80 5.71
Mar 4 0.56 70.07 5.80 69.60 0.47
Totals 68.81 52.20

Appendix VI:
Case study: Roof water harvesting potential for Sana’a city
1- Background

Rainwater harvesting systems have been

used since ancient times, and evidence of
roof catchments systems date back to early
Roman times. Roman villas and even whole
cities were designed to take advantage of
rainwater as the principal water source for
drinking and domestic purposes.

In Yemen’s mountainous areas, ancient rain-

water harvesting techniques included small
dams, dykes, cisterns, Majels, Kariefs, and
Ogmas. These traditional structures were
used for both domestic water supply and
agricultures uses. In the highest mountains,
rooftop rainwater harvesting techniques
[e.g., Masjed roofs ( photo (1)] and moun-
tain rock surfaces (photo 2) were also used.

At present, new technologies in rain water

harvesting in Yemen are becoming domi-
nant. Two types of ferro-cement tanks—
50m3 aboveground tanks and 100m3 un-
derground tanks—are used in schools in
Sana’a. This manual provides guidance on Photo (1) Rainwater harvesting from
their construction (Photo 2). Mosque roof (traditional)

Sana’a is experiencing a serious depletion The first rainy period starts between mid-
of groundwater resources and associated March and the beginning of April, and
water quality degradation. The water re- the second rainy period begins between
sources situation in the Sana’a Basin is ex- mid-July and the beginning of August and
tremely serious, as abstraction exceeds re- stops abruptly at the end of August. Sep-
charge more than five times. Consequently, tember through February are generally dry,
the piezometric level declines by about 4m although occasional thunderstorms bring
to 8m annually. In addition, rainfall is less- some rain. Sixty-five to seventy-five per-
ening each year due to climatic changes. cent of the rain falls between January and
There are two rainy seasons separated by a June. The number of rain days with rainfall
distinct dry interval (from May to mid-July). amounts above 5 mm/day varies between 5
Annual rainfall generally varies between and 15 days. The average amount of rainfall
150 mm and 250 mm, with some years hav- per rain day is between 16 mm and 17 mm.
ing higher rainfall amounts above 250 mm.
A rainwater harvesting system comprises
of components for transporting rainwa-

ter through pipes or drains, filtration, and In addition to the cost and savings advan-
tanks for storage of harvested water. The tages mentioned above, listed here are
common components of a rainwater har- other advantages of rooftop water harvest-
vesting system are shown in figure 1. ing in Sana’a:

• Rooftop rainwater harvesting can co‐ex-

ist with and provide a good supplement
to other water sources and utility sys-
tems, relieving pressure on groundwater
• Rainwater harvesting provides a water
supply for city areas that are not covered
by water supply networks, especially
during rainy seasons.
• Rainwater harvesting provides a water
supply for use in times of emergency or
breakdown of the public water supply
systems, particularly during natural di-
• Water received is free of cost, so the use
of this water significantly reduces water
bills for purchased water from municipal
• Harvesting rainwater is not only water
conserving, it is also energy conserving,
since the energy input required to oper-
Photo (2) Two Ferro-cement tanks at two ate a centralized water system designed
schools in Sana’a (Giz, 2007) to treat and pump water over a vast ser-
vice area is bypassed.
• Rainwater harvesting can reduce storm
drainage load and street flooding, so it
reduces local soil erosion and flooding
caused by the rapid runoff of water from
impervious cover such as paved areas
and roofs. Rainwater harvesting also re-
duces levels of storm water, requiring
smaller storm water drainage systems,
which helps to reduce soil erosion.
Fig-1: Schematic of a typical rainwater • Rainwater collected from roofs and
catchment system stored underground or in storage tanks
meets demand during periods of scarci-
ty in urban areas.

• Rainwater collected from roofs can be used 4.2 Field visit
for groundwater recharge through shallow
dry wells installed inside the house or near The team visited the two schools in south-
of it, which help to control the decline of ern part of the city of Sana’a where a 50m3
water levels (recharging aquifers). ferro-cement tank and 100m3 tank were built
by Social Fund for Development in 2005.
• Rainwater collection in ponds through
waterways inside the city is contributed 4.3 Rainwater Harvesting Model
to recharging groundwater and to gar-
dening and street tree irrigation. The effectiveness of roof rainwater harvest-
In this study, the ability of rooftop water ing was modeled using SamSamWater soft-
harvesting in Sana’a to meet the minimum ware. SamSamWater develops tools and
requirements of water for drinking and hy- methodologies to support water and san-
geine will be evaluated qualitatively and itation projects. The model uses monthly
quantitatively. rainfall data and six parameters to calculate
reliability and demand satisfaction of a giv-
en rainwater harvesting system. Output in-
3. Objectives: cludes a graph of the system’s storage tank
level over the simulation time period. The
The objectives of this research are:
model assumes that a family’s collection
1- To estimate the amount of water that system runs as a single unit, combining all
can be collected from the roofs, at the tank volumes and collection areas, and that
household level and at the city level, as water withdrawals are made equally from
an additional source of drinking water. all tanks. The parameters of tank volume,
2- To estimate the amount of water that can roof area, and family size are independent
be collected from the roofs of schools for variables specific to each family.
drinking and toilet purposes.
The quantity of water (Q) that runs off a roof
3- To analyze the quality of the roof water
into gutters in liters per year is fairly easy to
from schools to meet the minimum re-
calculate using the rough equation:
quirements of water need for drinking
and hygiene.
4- To identify the sizes of the tanks required
to collect the rooftop water. where:
4. Methodology R is the total rainfall in millimeters in that year
A is the guttered roof area in square meters
4.1 Data collection
C is a ‘run-off coefficient’ that takes into ac-
The team has reviewed several studies and count evaporation from the roof and losses
rainfall data from related ministries and between the roof and the storage tank.
aouthrites. We use the WEC’s rainfall data
from five rainfall stations. The location of
the stations as well as the rain data are avail- Second, storage tank overflow is deter-
able in the figure and tables in Annex 1. mined by adding the runoff to the storage at
the end of the previous day and comparing

this to the tank volume; if greater, the stor- contamination using standard methods (HACH).
age level is set equal to the tank volume and
overflow is computed as the excess amount:
4.4.1 Chemical Contaminants
Overflow = Max (0, Storage (t‐1) + Run-
off (t) – Tank Volume). Rainwater can be contaminated by absorb-
ing airborne chemicals. Most of the chem-
icals present in harvested rainwater are in-
The model then calculates the daily water use troduced during collection, treatment, and
for the household. First, the storage volume distribution, including organic chemicals,
in the tank is compared to the level at which such as volatile and synthetic organic and in-
rationing occurs. If greater, then no rationing organic chemicals (e.g., minerals and metals).
occurs and the model computes water use
by multiplying the number of residents by 4.4.2 Minerals
the (target) daily per capita water demand. If
rationing does occur, then use is computed
Minerals are inorganic materials found nat-
by multiplying the demand by a rationing
urally in the environment. Most minerals are
factor. The use is then subtracted from the
inorganic salts (such as calcium carbonate,
water available to determine the final storage
sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate,
volume in the tank for the day. If the demand
and sodium chloride) that affect the flavour
is greater than the available water, the stored
of the water but generally do not pose health
volume is set to zero. The model then checks
threats. Minerals, especially calcium and
to ensure that the supply met the demand
magnesium salts, give water its hardness.
(with or without rationing). If the demand is
Rainwater contains virtually no minerals be-
not met, the day is marked as a dry day.
fore it is harvested, so it is a very soft water.
It is also slightly acidic, with a pH around
4.4 Rooftop water quality 5.6, due to the carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur
Two samples were collected from the school dioxides it absorbs from the atmosphere.
roofs. The first sample was collected from har- Because it takes time for rainwater to absorb
vested rooftop rainwater which is stored in a fer- minerals, most of the minerals present in
ro-cement tank. The other sample was collected harvested rainwater will have been leached
from drinking groundwater stored in a metal from materials used to construct the system
tank and brought to school from wells by metal- rather than from environmental sources.
lic water tankers. At the time of sampling, school
deans were asked to complete a questionnaire 4.4.3 Metals
about the harvested water use and their drink-
ing water source and system, including details Metals include lead, arsenic, copper, iron, and
about what measures they took to safeguard manganese. Some metals, such as lead and ar-
their water supply from contamination. Water senic, can pose a long-term health threat if they
samples were collected in sterile 750 ml plastic are present in high enough concentrations.
bottles. The samples were placed on ice packs Other metals, such as iron and manganese, can
in a chilled bin, transported to the laboratory affect the appearance and taste of the water
within 12 hours, and processed within 6 hours but pose no health threat. It takes time for met-
of arrival in the laboratory. All samples were al to dissolve in rainwater. Therefore, this type
analyzed for physical, chemical, and biological of contaminant is usually present only after

metallic materials such as lead solder, iron and of atmospheric deposition preceding rainfall
copper pipe, and brass fittings have been ex- events. Discarding the first spill of rain is also
posed to rainwater for several hours or longer. recommended by similar studies from different
countries (Zhu et al., 2004; Sazakli, 2007).
4.4.4 Microbiological Contaminants
5. Model application
Rainwater seldom contains microbiological
5.1 Houshould level
contaminants until it is harvested and stored.
The water in a raindrop is extremely pure, but
it is virtually impossible to maintain that level The following is the application of the mod-
of purity during the collection, treatment, and el’s representation of a household rainwa-
distribution processes. Rainwater can be con- ter harvesting system. The University staff
taminated by two major categories of microbio- residence building no (3) at Sana’a Univer-
logical agents: those that cause disease (patho- sity where one of the researchers lives is
genic) and those that do not (nonpathogenic). used, (see photo (3). The parameters for the
These nonpathogenic microbes include many household are given in Table 1, as taken from
kinds of protozoa, algae, bacteria, and viruses. the survey. For this application, a steady de-
Although they do not cause illness, non-patho- mand of 50 litter /capita /day (l/c/d) .
gens often reduce the aesthetic quality of the
water and can interfere with the operation of 5.2 School Rooftop
the rainwater harvesting and treatment facili-
ties, increasing operational and maintenance The model was applied to the public
requirements. For example, high concentrations schools in the south of Sana’a, where two
of algae can make the water slimy, plugging 50m3 ferro-cement tanks, built by the Social
the filters used to treat the water. Pathogenic Fund for Development in 2005 (see photo
organisms are not normally found in rainwater. 4) are located. The model was tested to de-
However, they can be present if the rainwater termine how it represents school rainwater
collection or storage facilities have been con- harvesting systems. The parameters for the
taminated by fecal material such as animal or
bird droppings. Pathogenic microbes pose a Table 1: Model Parameters for Building #3,
greater health threat to rainwater users than staff residential campus
most chemical contaminants. Total coliforms
are indicative of environmental contamination Parameter Unit Value
(e.g., soil and vegetation) and fecal coliform are Roof Area m 2
indicative of mammal originated contamina-
Monthly rainfall Mm 390
tion. The total coliform group includes both fe-
cal and environmental species. Most important Number of People # 71
among the fecal coliform species is the Esche- Litter/cap-
richia coli, as they occur in high numbers in hu- Water Demand 70
man and animal feces, sewage, and water. Jiries
Runoff Coefficient # 0.80
et al. (2002) determined the metallic content
and inorganic constituents of street sediment
and street runoff in Amman/Jordan. The high- schools are given in Table (2), as taken from the
est concentrations of all constituents were de- field visit survey. For this application, a steady de-
tected during low rainfall and long dry periods mand of 10 l/c/d, with no rationing, is assumed.

Table 2: Model Parameters for Akhwan liters (1814.05 m³) per year. The amount of
Thabet School, Sana’a water that can be collected from the roof
(201m³) is less than the water demand
Parameter unit Value
(1814.05 m³). Only part of the water de-
Existing Tank Volume litre 50000 mand can be fulfilled using a rainwater har-
Roof Area m2 540 vesting system (see table 3).

Number of students # 2500 6.1.3 Required storage

l/capi- The total amount of water that can be
Water Demand 10
tal/d collected from this roof, 200.90m3, is not
Runoff Coefficient # 0.80 enough to fulfil the total yearly water de-
mand of 1814.10 m3. However, it might still
be worthwhile to construct a rainwater har-
6. Results and discussion vesting system. With the storage reservoir
6.1 Houshold level of 47.9 m³, a rainwater harvesting system
6.1.1 Water availability can provide 550 liters of water per day,
which is 11% of the total demand (see ta-
A flat roof has a runoff coefficient of 0.7, ble 4). The storage reservoir will be full and
which means that 70% of the rain can be then slowly drain until it is (almost) empty
harvested. Based on this runoff coefficient at the end of February.
and a roof area of 480 m2 a volume of 3797
liters (11.3 mm x 480 m² x 0.7) can be col- 6.1.4 Dry and wet years
lected in the driest month (January) and
32794 liters (97.6 mm x 30 m² x 0.7) in the
This calculation is based on average
wettest month (August). The average an-
monthly rainfall. The actual rainfall differs
nual amount of water that can be collected
from month to month and year to year. The
from the roof is 200900 liters (201m³).
amount of available water and filling of the
tank changes from year to year.
6.1.2 Water demand
The water demand is 4970 liters per day, In a dry year there is less rain to fill the
which equals about 149100 liters per system. The system can provide less water
month. The total water demand is 1814100 compared to an average year. All rain is
Table 3: Water availability and water demand through the year for household level

Table 4: Water level in the suggested tank throughout the year for the household level

stored, so constructing a larger reservoir month. The total water demand is 9125000
will not help. liters (9125 m³) per year. The amount of
water that can be collected from the roof
In a wet year there is more water available, (226m³) is less than the water demand
and constructing a larger tank will increase (9125 m³). Only a part of the water demand
water availability in this situation. With a can be fulfilled using a rainwater harvesting
storage reservoir of 80500 liters (80.5 m³), a system (see table 5).
rainwater harvesting system could provide
18% of the total demand. Required storage

6.2 Rainwatwer from School Roofs The total amount of water that can be collect-
6.2.1 Water availability ed from this roof, 226000 liters, is not enough
to fulfill the total yearly water demand of
A flat roof has a runoff coefficient of 0.7, 9125000 liters. With a storage reservoir of
which means that 70% of the rain can be 53900 liters (53.9 m³) a rainwater harvesting
harvested. Based on this runoff coefficient system could provide 619 liters of water per
and a roof area of 540 m2, a volume of 4271 day, which is 2% of the total demand (see
liters (11.3 mm x 540 m² x 0.7) of water can table 6). The existing storage reservoir with
be collected in the driest month (January) 50.00 m3 will be sufficient. The storage reser-
and 36893 liters (97.6 mm x 30 m² x 0.7) in voir will be full and then slowly drain until it is
the wettest month (August). The average (almost) empty at the end of February.
annual amount of water that can be collect-
ed from the roof is 226000 liters (226m³). 6.2.4 Dry and wet years

6.2.2 Water demand This calculation is based on the average monthly

rainfall. The actual rainfall differs from month to
The water demand is 25000 liters per day, month and year to year. The amount of available
which equals about 750000 liters per water and filling of the tank will change each year.

Table 5: Water availability and water demand through the year (school).

Table ( 6): Water level in the tank throughout the year (school).

In a dry year, there is less rain to fill the sys- vesting system could provide 4% of the to-
tem. The system can provide less water com- tal demand.
pared to an average year. All rain is stored, so
constructing a larger reservoir will not help. 6.3 Entire City of Sana’a

In a wet year there is more water available, The model was an applied to the entire city
and constructing a larger tank will increase of Sana’a. The total surface area of Sana’a has
water availability. With a storage reservoir been estimated by Taher (2014) using Google
of 90600 liters (90.6 m³) a rainwater har- Earth data. The total roof surface area is 60.3

km2. The parameters for Sana’a are given in Ta- water that can be collected from the roof
ble 7. For this application, a steady demand of is 25.116 million m3.
70 l/c/d, with no rationing, is assumed.
6.3.2 Water demand
Table 7: Model Parameters for city of Sanaá

Parameter Unit Value The water demand is 161000 m3 per day,

which equals about 4.83 million m3 per
Roof Area km2 60.3 month. The total water demand is 58.8 mil-
Monthly rainfall mm 320 mm lion m3 per year. The amount of water that
can be collected from the roof (25.116000
Number of People million 2.3 million m³) is less than the water demand
l/capi- (58.8000 m³). Only a part of the water de-
Water Demand 70 mand (43%) can be fulfilled using a rainwa-
ter harvesting system (see table 8).
Runoff Coefficient # 0.80

6.4 Result of water quality analysis:

6.3.1 Water availability
As discussed, we collected water samples
A flat roof has a runoff coefficient of 0.7,
from school water tanks. All the samples
which means that 70% of the rain can be
were analyzed for physical, chemical, and
harvested. Based on this runoff coefficient
biological contamination using standard
and a roof area of 60000000 m2, a volume
methods (HACH). The results of the water
of 0.474 million m3 (11.3 mm x 60.3km² x
quality analysis from rainwater collected
0.7) of water can be collected in the driest
from the school roof and from the storage
month (January) and 4.1 million m3 (97.6
tank provided by the private tankers are
mm x 60.3 km² x 0.7) in the wettest month
discussed below. The analysis result is shown
(August). The average annual amount of
in Tables 9 & 10.
Table 8: Water availability and water demand through the year (Sana’a).

Table 9: Water sample analysis results from rain- AMMONIA(NH4+) mg / l 0.00 0.2-0.5
water harvesting (Al-Ttyaar school) SUSPENDED SOLIDS mg / l -
Parameter Unit Result WHO guideline TOTAL ANIONS,MEQ/L 4.989
µs/cm 165 1000-1500 Total coliform MP- 9.1 Nill
pH - 8.1 6.5-8.3 Fecal Coliform MP- 9.1 Nill
mg / l 107.3 1000
mg / l 20 300
CaCo3 6.4.1 Rooftop water analysis
mg / l 75 500
CaCo3 Despite the acceptable chemical quality
CARBONATES mg / l Nill
BICARBONATES mg / l 24 350
of the harvested rainwater sample form
CHLORIDE mg / l 22 250 the reinforced concrete rooftop of Attyaar
FLUORIDE mg / l - 1.5 school (Table 9), which complies with WHO
NITRATE mg / l 11.2 0-50 standards for drinking water, the presence
SULPHATE mg / l 16 250
NITRITE mg / l -
of microbial indicators (total coliforms and
PHOSPHATE – P mg / l 0.2 0.02-0.2 fecal coliforms) makes it unsuitable for
CALCIUM mg / l 20.9 200 drinking if untreated. Total coliform and
MAGNESIUM mg / l 5.5 150
fecal coliform are equal, which means that
SODIUM mg / l 0.8 200
POTASSIUM mg / l 1 10-20 the contamination is attributed to fecal co-
IRON(TOTAL) mg / l 0.04 0.1-0.3 liform as the roof is far from any source of
AMMONIA(NH4+) mg / l 0.18 0.2-0.5 organic contamination such as decaying
vegetation. The likely sources of the fecal
TOTALC ATIONS,MEQ/L 1.562 contamination are fecal material deposited
Total coliform MPN/100ml 5.1 Nill by birds, rodents, and dead insects, either
Fecal Coliform MPN/100ml 5.1 Nill on the rooftop or in the gutters or in the
storage tank itself. To reduce or eliminate
Table 10: Water sample analysis results from storage microbiological contamination, the storage
tank provided by tankers (Ikhwan Thabet school). tank needs to be evacuated of residual rain-
Parameter Unit Result WHO guide line water and the school rooftop needs to be
µs/cm 416 1000-1500
cleaned before the rainy season. The first
AT 25 C spill of rain should be discarded.
pH - 8.3 6.5-8.3
mg / l 270.4 1000 6.4.2 Water tanker quality analysis
TOTAL ALKALINITY AS CaCo3 mg / l 132 300
TOTAL HARDNESS AS CaCo3 mg / l 16 500 The physical and chemical analysis of the
CARBONATES mg / l Nill drinking water sample taken from the
BICARBONATES mg / l 161 350
metallic tank of Ikhwan Thabit School (Ta-
CHLORIDE mg / l 50 250
FLUORIDE mg / l - 1.5
ble 10) complies with WHO standard sfor
NITRATE mg / l 6.4 0-50 drinking water, though the concentration
SULPHATE mg / l 40 250 of components (TDS, Na, CL, S) are high-
NITRITE mg / l - er than those in the harvested rainwater.
PHOSPHATE – P mg / l 0.12 0.02-0.2
It is unsurprising to find more minerals in
CALCIUM mg / l 12 200
MAGNESIUM mg / l 3.4 150
groundwater, as they dissolve from the soil
SODIUM mg / l 93 200 layers in the process of infiltration. This in-
POTASSIUM mg / l 0.6 10-20 dicates the purity of harvested rainwater
IRON(TOTAL) mg / l 0.01 0.1-0.3 compared to groundwater. The microbio-

logical analysis shows bacterial contami- groundwater or surface waters that may
nation of total and fecal coliform, making have been subjected to pollution, some-
the water unsuitable for drinking despite times from unknown sources.
its current use. It is unknown where this • Running costs are low.
contamination came from; this needs to be
further investigated. It could be from the • Construction, operation, and mainte-
groundwater source itself or from the water nance are not labour-intensive.
tanker or the metallic tank at school. The following maintenance guidelines
should be considered in the operation of
7. Conclusions and recommendations rainwater harvesting systems:

Rainwater harvesting technology is suitable • A procedure for eliminating the “first

for use in all areas as a means of augment- flush” after a long dry spell deserves
ing the amount of water available. It is most particular attention. Water from the first
useful in arid and semi-arid areas where rainfall of the season should be diverted
other sources of water are scarce, like the from the storage tank, since this is most
city of Sana’a where harvested water from likely to contain undesirable materials
roofs will cover 17.5% of the city’s demand. that have accumulated on the roof and
other surfaces between rainfalls. Gen-
The advantages of these systems are as follows: erally, water captured during the first
• Rainwater harvesting provides a source 10 minutes of rainfall during an event
of water at the point where it is needed. of average intensity is unfit for drinking
It is owner operated and managed. purposes.
• It provides an essential reserve in times • The storage tank should be checked
of emergency and/or breakdown of and cleaned periodically. All tanks need
public water supply systems, particularly cleaning; their designs should allow
during natural disasters. for this. Cleaning procedures consist of
thorough scrubbing of the inner walls
• The construction of a rooftop rainwater
and floors. Use of a chlorine solution is
catchment system is simple, and local
recommended for cleaning, followed by
people can easily be trained to build
thorough rinsing.
one, minimizing cost.
• Care should be taken to keep rainfall col-
• The technology is flexible. The systems
lection surfaces covered to reduce the
can be built to meet almost any require-
likelihood of frogs, lizards, mosquitoes,
ment. Poor households can start with a
and other pests using the cistern as a
single small tank and add more when
breeding ground. Residents may prefer
they can afford them.
to take care to prevent such problems
• It can improve the engineering of build- rather than have to take corrective ac-
ing foundations when cisterns are built tions, such as treating or removing wa-
as part of the building substructure, as in ter, at a later time.
the case of mandatory cisterns.
• Chlorination of the cisterns or storage
• The physical and chemical properties of tanks is necessary if the water is to be
rainwater may be superior to those of used for drinking and domestic uses.

The Montserrat Island Water Authority where health risks are minimized. In
constructed an unconventional chlori- many systems, this involves chlorination
nation device with a rubber tube, ply- of the supplies at frequent intervals.
wood, a 1.2 m piece of PVC tubing, and • Problems usually encountered in main-
a hose clip to chlorinate the water using taining the system at an efficient level
chlorine tablets. include the lack of availabile chemicals
• Gutters and downpipes need to be period- required for appropriate treatment and
ically inspected and cleaned carefully. Peri- lack of adequate funding.
odic maintenance must also be carried out
on any pumps used to lift water to selected • For all quality parameters, harvested rain-
areas in the house or building. More often water from rooftops have better quality
than not, maintenance is carried out only than water collected from catchment ar-
when equipment breaks down. eas or even from some sources of ground-
water. Similar results are reported by Zun-
• Community systems require the cre- kel et al. (2003) and Zhu et al. (2004), who
ation of a community organization to found that the quality of the harvested
maintain them effectively. Similarly, water is strongly affected by the contam-
households must establish a mainte- ination of the catchment area.
nance routine that will be carried out by
family members. Public awareness has an important role in
collected rainwater management. Educa-
• In some cases, the rainwater is treated
tion, training, and financial supports are
with chlorine tablets. However, in most
needed to encourage people to consider the
places it is used without treatment. In
importance and quality of collected water.
such cases, residents are advised to boil Clean environments produce clean water.
the water before drinking. Where cistern Several environmental conditions should be
users do not treat their water, the quality taken into consideration to improve water
of the water may be assured through the quality, such as proper design, operation,
installation of commercially available in- and periodic maintenance of collection sys-
line charcoal filters or other water treat- tems, cleanliness of the catchment area and
ment devices. Community catchments water storage tank, and protection of collec-
require additional protections, including: tion systems from pollutants.
o Fencing of the paved catchment to
prevent the entry of animals, primar- We conclude that implementation of roof-
ily livestock such as goats, cows, don- top rainwater harvesting on the buildings
keys, and pigs, that can affect water of the Sana’a University staff residential
campus is the best approach to address-
ing water scarcity, whether from a financial
o Cleaning the paved catchment of leaves point of view or from the point of view of
and other vegetative matter. optimum use of land surface. By imple-
o Repairing large cracks in the paved menting water harvesting, we can encour-
catchment as a result of soil move- age rainwater conservation, which will be
ment, earthquakes, or exposure to beneficial to the students of the campus.
the elements. The campus will also become an example
to others for rainwater harvesting.
o Maintaining water quality at a level

Appendix VII

Example calculation of rooftop water harvesting for the city of Ibb using open access soft-
ware, SamSamWater Rainwater Harvesting

Photo 3: Sanaá University staff residence Building no. 3

Photo 4: Akhwan Thabet School south city of Sanaá

200 km 

The total water that can be collected from this roof is not enough to fulfil the total water demand.
However, it might still be worthwhile to construct a rainwater harvesting system. With a
storage reservoir of 29300 litres (29.3 m³) a rainwater harvesting system could provide 292
litres of water per day, which is 36% of total demand.

Details on the results and calculations can be found below.


Location: Aldhar, Ibb - Yemen

Latitude: 13.97468 degrees
Longitude: 44.17183 degrees
Roof size: 200 square metres
Roof type: metal
Runoff coefficient:  0.9
Water demand: 800 litres per day

The average rainfall at this location varies between 7.3 mm in the driest month (January) and 100.6 mm
in the wettest month (August). The total annual rainfall in an average year is 592 mm.

Water availability
Ametal roof has a runoff coefficient of 0.9, which means that 90% of the rain can be harvested. Based on this
runoff coefficient and a roof area of 200 m2 a volume of 1314 litres (7.3 mm x 200 m² x 0.9) of water can be
collected in the driest month (January) and 18108 litres (100.6 mm x 30 m² x 0.9) in the wettest month (August).
The average annual amount of water that can be collected from the roof is 106500 litres (107m³).
Water demand
The water demand is 800 litres per day, which equals about 24000 litres per month. The total water
demand is 292000 litres (292 m³) per year. The amount of water that can be collected from the roof
(107m³) is less than the water demand (292 m³). Only a part of the water demand can be fulfilled
using a rainwater harvesting system.

Required storage
The total amount of water that can be collected from this roof, 106500 litres, is insufficient to fulfil
the total yearly water demand of 292000 litres. However, it might still be worthwhile to construct a
rainwater harvesting system. With a storage reservoir of 29300 litres (29.3 m³) a rainwater harvesting
system could provide 292 litres of water per day, which is 36% of the total demand.

The storage reservoir will be full and then slowly drain until it is (almost) empty at the end of March.

Dry and wet years

This calculation is based on the average monthly rainfall. The actual rainfall differs from month to
month and year to year. The amount of available water and filling of the tank will change.
When constructing a rainwater harvesting system, it is important to take this into account. Below is
a description of the situation in a dry year (20% chance) and a wet year (20% chance).

In a dry year, there is less rain to fill the system. The system can provide less water compared to
an average year. All rain is stored, so constructing a larger reservoir will not help.

In a wet year there is more water available, and constructing a larger tank will increase the water
availability in this situation. With a storage reservoir of 46900 litres (46.9 m³) a rainwater harvest-
ing system could provide 58% of the total demand.

Appendix VIII

References [9] Mosley, L., 2005, “Water Quality of Rainwa-
ter Harvesting Systems”. SOPAC, Miscellaneous
[1] Centre for Science and Environment, 2005, Report 579.
“Rainwater Harvesting and Utilisation”. An In-
troductory Guide for Decision-Makers, Tughlaka- [10] Martinson D. B., and Thomas, T.H., 2005,
bad Institutional area, New Delhi - 110062, India. “Quantifying the First-Flush Phenomenon:
Effects of First-Flush on Water Yield and Qual-
[2] Dzikus, A., 2005 “Policy Paper, Measure for th
ity”, 12 IRCSA conference, New Delhi, India.
Ensuring Sustainability of Rainwater Harvest-
ing” Water for Asian Cities Programme, India [11] Kishangarh, Vasant Kunj “Technology Pro-
– UN-HABITAT& Directorate of Urban Admin- file: Rooftop Rain Water Harvesting Systems”.
istration & Development Government of Mad- Development Alternatives, New Delhi, India.
hya Pradesh. New Delhi, India.
[12] WHO, 2008, “Guidelines for Drinking-water Quali-
[3] Anurag Singh, A. Mansuri A., Panchal D., Shah, ty”, third edition, Volume 1 Recommendations, Geneva
D., Singh K., and Kolte, S., 2006 “Planning Rain
Water Harvesting System for Nirma University [13] Ministry of Water Resources, 2000, “A
Campus”, National Seminar on Rainwater Har- Guide on Artificial Recharge to Groundwa-
vesting and Water Management, Nagpur. India. ter” Central Ground water Board, Ministry of
Water Resources,, New Delhi, India
[4] Ministry of Rural Development, 2004, “Water
Harvesting and Artificial Recharge”. Depart- [14] Ministry of Water Resources 2003 “Rain
ment of Drinking Water Supply, New Delhi, India. water Harvesting Techniques to Augment
Ground Water”, Central Ground Water Board,
[5] Taher, T. M., 2003, “Water Harvesting Tech- Faridabad, India.
niques and their Prospects in the Scarce Water
Environment” Conference on Water Harvesting [15] Sa’ad, A. 2005 “Manual of Applied Hy-
for Food Security and Sustainable Development, drology”, WB Technical assistant, general di-
Khartoum, Sudan. rectorate of irrigation, Sana’a, Yemen

[6] Krishna, H., J., 2005 “The Texas Manual on [16] Meinzinger, F. 2005, “Rainwater Harvesting”.
Rainwater Harvesting”, Third Edition, Texas
Water Development Board in cooperation [17] NWRA, 2010, “rainfall data of Sana’a,
with Chris Brown Consulting, Jan Gerston Taiz and Ibb”. Yemen
Consulting, Stephen Colley/Architecture, and
P.E., Contract Manager. Austin, Texas [18] Prof. Abdullah Noman and others “Rain
water Harvesting from Rooftop, In Urban Ar-
[7] Dolman, B., Lundquist, k., 2009, “Roof wa- eas, Case study: Sana’a City” , WEC 2016
ter harvesting for Low Impact Water Supply”
featuring the Brazilian Ball Pre-filter system: A [19] Eirik Hovden. 2006. Master thesis in Wa-
case Study for the Water Institute. ter Resources and Coastal Management, The
Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
[8] Phillips, A., A., 2005, “City of Tucson Water University of Bergen
Harvesting Guidance Manual”, City of Tuc-
son, Department of Transportation, Storm [20] Social Found for Development (SFD) .
water Management Section, USA.

The Water and Environment Center
(WEC) – Sana’a University, has a mis-
sion to enrich the national library by
wide materials in water sciences. As
Yemen is suffering from water scar-
city, there’s an extreme need to in-
crease and find renewable water re-
sources, this manual was established
by WEC with support of MetaMeta
and funded by NICHE027 - Nuffic, to
cover the needs for water resources
alternatives such as water harvesting from rooftops.

WEC hopes this manual will help researchers, students, and all water interested
parties to better understand water harvesting practices in Yemen.

For more information:

Dr. Adel Al-Weshali

WEC director

RTWH to field

Reprape for RRWH to field